All Kinds of Goodbyes and Why They Hurt So Much


A few weeks ago, I had to say goodbye to my nearest and dearest (in my heart) cousin whom I hadn’t seen in years. It was so good seeing him again.

We laughed.
We caught up.
We reminisced.
We even got a little teary-eyed.

Then it was time to say goodbye and my throat hurt.

I hate goodbyes.

I would much rather say, “See you later.”

Somehow saying that phrase includes the hope and promise that I will indeed see that person again. Soon.

Goodbyes sort of stink and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to saying them.

There is, however, another sort of goodbye that makes my throat hurt for a very different reason.

Goodbyes to bad attitudes.
Goodbyes to regrets.
Goodbyes to lost opportunities.
Goodbyes to unhealthy relationships.

While these kinds of goodbyes still make my throat hurt…it’s for completely different reasons.

Good ones.

I realize how off I’ve been inside myself and have been nursing selfish attitudes, self-serving thoughts, mulling over the many ways I failed while participating in those going nowhere conversations that run endlessly on like “reruns of poorly made b-grade movies.”

And that other people besides myself are being forced to watch play out in my life day after day.

That mental picture alone makes my throat hurt because it forces me to face myself and the picture is not a pretty one. It’s full in my face brutally honest and stark with selfishness and I’m left with a lump in my throat because I did it again…spoke out of turn, acted without love, and returned evil for evil.

Talk about getting all choked up…how I long to say a forever farewell to those deeply rooted, carefully tended, tentacles of selfishness. But I know better.

If I want to change, really change, it’s going to mean daily, hourly, minute by minute, work on my part to rework my heart.

I like how author Randy Alcorn addresses this subject of saying goodbye to selfishness (which he describes as taking up our crosses daily).

Taking up our crosses daily doesn’t mean making one big once-and-for-all sacrifice and getting it over with. It means repeatedly, over and over again, day after day and year after year, saying no to present desires and plans in order to say yes to God and others.

And isn’t saying yes to others another way of saying a great big enthusiastic yes to life as it should be lived? I think so.


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