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Monday, October 19, 2015


We've been home for nine days, and I'm still thinking (and writing) about vacation.  I think that means it's justified... or something.  I needed some new adventures to bring fresh perspective to my writing, right?

So, I learned a new word at Animal Kingdom.  Since I really like words, this was a plus.  It's not as if I haven't ridden the Kiliminjaro Safari every time we've traveled to Florida since 2006, and I know the guides say pretty much the same thing every time, but Kwaherini struck me this time around.  Instead of the Swahili, "good-bye", it is more accurately translated as, "go well".

I think there are at least a couple of implications.

There are a lot of good-byes in ministry... at least, there have been for me.  I'm not that good with good-byes.  I'm not that good at letting go.  Difficult good-byes can play over and over in my mind for weeks or months.  The worst ones have taken up space in my brain, intermittently of course, for years.  I think it's hardest to deal with the good-byes that happen when I don't want them to. 
The other day, my friend Sharon linked to an article, found here, which, although not exactly what I've been dealing with, was very helpful.  But there's also something else.

Why is it that good-byes are almost crippling sometimes?  I think it's because we don't know how to say, "good-bye," without also saying, "don't speak to me again," or, "I hope the rest of your life sucks," or, "I hate you". 

It would be so much more healing to say, "go well".  It would be so much more healing to mean it.  Sometimes things don't work out the way we've planned them.  I might know this better than anyone as a constant, obsessive planner.  This, however, does not mean that we (and by we, I guess I mean I) have to be angry with the world for the rest of our lives.  When I look back on all of the good-byes that have happened over the years, there are actually very few people who I dislike enough that I pray I will never run into them, even briefly, at denominational events.  And even then, I legitimately hope they're "going well".  I don't wish them misery.

But I have to go well, too.  And sometimes the only way to do that is to say good-bye.


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