Saying Goodbye to the Callahans
One of my favorite musicals is “The Sound of Music” and one of the most bittersweet songs is the one that the children sing at the party that is all about saying goodbye. They try to lighten the mood with something that is not fun or easy to say. In fact, no matter how you slice it, sing it, or how many cute people say it in a variety of languages I still hate goodbyes. Just because they are part of everyday life I still cannot get used to them. No matter how many times I say them and no matter if they are short term or permanent, they are hard and they hurt. Goodbyes don’t feel natural; we go through the whole process of meeting someone and building a relationship only to leave each other!
I do admit that some people and things we need to say goodbye to. I am always ready to say goodbye to things like extra pounds and some of the people who drown me or drain a room of its purpose and joy. But today is different. Today is a hard goodbye. The absence of you, Michael, feels like we are trying to gain yardage without our wide receiver or like trying to sew without thread. I want to say, “Do you have to go so soon?”, with the intent of coaxing you to stay just awhile longer and delaying the inevitable. I love the quote by Louisa Mae Alcott: ‘Stay’ is a charming word in a friend’s vocabulary. I want to say stay.
I am aware that all this sounds a bit morose and overly dramatic. I know we will continue to have a lifelong friendship, although I grieve the working relationship we have enjoyed. I am a better and godlier person because of you. Thank you. I have loved our conversations and it has been a joy unspeakable to watch God create Janie and entrust her to you and Sarah. My heart breaks with yours over what might have been in this place, for the pain you have endured these past months, and I count it all joy as I know that God uses it all to make us more like him and for our good. (But I pray you never need walk this path again. And I pray for healing and restoration).
Here is the silver lining….I believe that goodbyes are a reminder that we are not home yet. I am looking forward to the long hello of heaven when there will be no more goodbyes. What a brilliant concept that one day we will not have to say goodbye ever again. I love that hope taps us on the shoulder and whispers in our ear, “This is not the end!” And I am reminded that the word itself offers a wonderful thought. One day we will not have to bless each other with the words goodbye or “God be with you”. The word goodbye is a contraction of the phrase GOD BE WITH YOU. Why?! Because God will be there with us forever! So, even though I hate goodbyes I am glad for the promise and hope that there is another word we will say to one another again and it will be sweet to my ears: hello – that exclamation of greeting and happy gathering! So I say a blessing over you 3 when I say Goodbye – God be With you….until we meet again and we say hello!
I pray this for you and Sarah and Jane:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen Eph 3:14-21
I love you Michael and Sarah. And I am ever grateful that our lives have intersected.
Miriam Mohler <+><