Goodbye June 2020
My mind says things should be organized and predictable. I am happiest when I can understand life and its events and explain them to others. Some times and some trials just aren’t easy to understand. When life becomes inexplicable, I kind of freeze up. It probably isn’t depression, but it is a form of paralysis, like the rabbit in your front yard that thinks if it holds perfectly still you won’t be able to see it.
We moved often when I was a child, and saying goodbye was just a part of life. I tried to talk myself into the usual motivations like finding new friends where I was going. That was true, but it didn’t make the process any easier. It may seem odd, but once I had said goodbye to someone, it felt strange to run into them again. You would think that I would want a few more minutes with one special friend but it just didn’t fit into my organized thoughts about that relationship which had been completed. This was easy compared to other goodbyes I would face.
I have wondered about something that has never happened to me. Almost all of those that I have loved and lost have had heart problems. With modern coronary medicine, all but one survived the challenges with symptoms that complicated their lives. Then they all died of cancer. It was a linear trajectory for each of them with no recovery, no remission; just a straight line from diagnosis to death. My father’s last days were only six weeks in duration with just enough time to touch base with some old friends and write his own obituary. This all seemed as it should be in my mind. Very predictable.
My wondering has to do with the people who suddenly get well and then live for another ten or twenty years. That is obvious miracle when they have been diagnosed with a serious disease that is supposed to take them in a predictable amount of time. Very knowable and much to my liking as an organized person. How do they feel with the spectre gone? How do those who have emotionally said goodbye feel? Is it like when I had said goodbye to a friend just before we moved?
Another mystery for me is how life changes for those who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease or Parkinson’s. We all know that we will die someday, but learning what is going to take you out of this world can be a real crisis in itself, even though the outcome lies down the road several decades. Alzheimer’s is sometimes called “The Long Goodbye,” that can take twenty years to fulfill the guaranteed outcome.
Despite my lifelong wanderings, there is one town I have never left permanently, though I’ve wandered into the surrounding woods from time to time. God’s Town is the place where I have always lived and will always live. God never says goodbye to us and we never have to say goodbye to Him, or His Son, or His Spirit. THAT is a reliability we can count upon.