Saying goodbye is part of life, and some goodbyes are more challenging than others. Just as we are culturally uncomfortable with the idea of death, we are uneasy with goodbyes and try to ignore them or look for easy ways out of them.
However, the intentional marking of the end of something—and the beginning of another thing—can be a real source of healing and hope for everyone involved.
Facing and naming the emotions of saying goodbye and asking for God’s help with this can be work that congregations can help families address.
Death and resurrection, endings and beginnings, goodbyes and hellos . . . these are not unfamiliar to us as Christians. We have resources for navigating these often difficult transitions together, whether it be a breakup, the end of employment, moving away, divorce or dying. When we mark leave-taking with rituals, we provide space for healing, hope and community support.
How have you experienced God in times of transition and saying goodbye?
This message was adapted from “Faith Reflections: Rituals for saying (and meaning) goodbye” by Anne Edison-Albright in Cafe, May 2016.