Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.
Like good stories and good meals, all visits come to an end. A fond farewell completes hospitality as we part by savoring the memory and inviting a return. Practicing goodbyes in this manner is important. As we practice them daily in small ways so that we can do them well when they are difficult.
As we bid farewell to a guest, we offer thanks for the visit. As the door closes and the car drives away, we welcome the sadness of parting. We also take a moment to savor the visit and look forward in hope to the next. We pause to remember and give thanks for the graces of the visit now ended. We recall the conversation, laughter, and silence, and we listen for the still, small voice of God. We ask ourselves, in what ways did we recognize God’s presence in this time? In what ways did we perhaps entertain angels unaware?
Like stories, meals, and visits, seasons of our lives come to an end. In practicing a fond farewell to our guests, we become more prepared as we bid farewell to seasons in our lives. In these changes of season, we recall the ways we noticed the presence of God and seek that awareness in the coming season. We welcome the sadness of parting, savor the season by recalling the joys and lessons learned, and look forward in hope toward the season to come.
Consider the ways you may have bid fond farewell in these seasons:
A farewell to singlehood in marriage.
A farewell to couplehood in becoming a parent.
A farewell to a community when moving.
A farewell on the first day of school or the first day of college.
A farewell to relationships or to a career.
A farewell to abilities or health as we age.
A farewell in death.