Posted by Rev. Daniel Christian on April 14, 2018
The way we say hello and goodbye is important. A friend from a long time ago would get a new job and the hello was always great. He didn’t know how to say goodbye when it was time to move on, so he would put himself in a situation to be fired, and, he always was. I do not recommend this approach. Often people forget the hello, but they remember the goodbye.
Do some of you have friends or family who instead of saying goodbye, they need to pick a fight in order to do it? Fight picking as a goodbye strategy is again, not one I recommend. It leaves everyone feeling rotten and then leery next time they have to say hello to you. They just might see you coming and cross street.
I am getting ready to say goodbye to Ukiah and they are also getting ready to say goodbye to me. It got me thinking about Bible passages that can speak to goodbyes. The oldest known copy of the Hebrew Bible was discovered in a burial tomb near Jerusalem in 1979. Two small silver scrolls were discovered and dated to the 7th century BCE. These verses predate the famous Dead Sea Scrolls by approximately four centuries. It took the scientist three years to unroll the delicate discovery. The larger scroll was three inches long when it was unrolled and the smaller scroll was two inches long. Each scroll was etched with 19 lines of tiny Hebrew script. It was from the book of Numbers. Guess what it said? You got it, the oldest known Bible passage is in fact a Goodbye! Numbers 6: 24-26 says, “May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make is his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
Like many of you I have had and witnessed goodbyes that are wonderful, hurtful, sad, joyous, tearful, cruel, hopeful, empty, sudden and long awaited. In any and all of these, when possible, try to make your goodbye an opportunity for you and the other to feel honored for having had your time together. I am serious here. I do not take this lightly. Goodbyes have the power to spring us forward into the new life with confidence and assurance. When the goodbye is bad it can haunt, and cause one to carry unnecessary guilt, anger, grief or resentment. If you do not believe me ask and someone who has had painful divorce. That stuff can sting for years or in some people stay with them for the rest of their lives.
I haven’t brought in boxes yet, but I am visualizing them. I have a painting that was given to me by a generous hearted member of our congregation named James. He gave it to me last week. It is 8x10 inch painting that he made. It is a portrait of our 8 year old daughter smiling. It now hangs above my office desk and will be in every church office I ever have. This painting will forever serve as a reminder and wonderful memory of my time together with the good people of Ukiah.
I will miss Patrona’s restaurant, Chop Chop and Ukiah Brew Pub, especially with open mic night. The hot as hell summers, not as much. I hope to come back and visit Hendy Woods and I still have yet to ride the Skunk Train. I do wonder where life will lead me next? I have a lovely wife and child, a home, a business to return to. I count myself extremely fortunate. This isn’t always the scenario.
As we ready to say goodbye, Ukiah Presbyterian Church has a hello just around the corner. Their pastor David Rodriquez is a Navy Chaplain who is returning from a fifteen-month active duty deployment in Dijbouti. He has served our country with honor and cared for the men and women under his command. He is excited to return to Ukiah and in all honesty, I don’t know what it must feel like for him and his family. This will be a hello that makes all goodbyes feel good and right.
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