THE UNBROKEN WORD
We often use the words goodbye and hello. For the most part, they are not words which we think about in the everyday world. They are just used as pleasantries, decorative to the beginning and end of a meeting or encounter.
However, when we truly consider their impact, they are the bookends of the community. Each time we meet with someone a new community is formed for that period of time. Sometimes only minutes, for example when ordering a coffee for a mid-morning jolt of energy. We probably don’t even remember if we said “good morning” before we placed the order, but probably added at least a “thank you”.
At a time when we enter into a special community, for a special event, things are different. Suddenly the meetings are meaningful, we have the time to dialog, to share experiences, make or renew friendships, or deepen the ones we already have. At these times the separation from these communities, such as at the end of a retreat, have a profound effect on us.
Then the hello seems like a wonderful beginning in the recent past; and the goodbye tinged with sadness. We long for what we enjoyed in community together and we wish it did not have to end. The French use the word au revoir, which means goodbye till we meet again. It is a soft landing and remembrance of the hope and intention of a return meeting, often with the desire that occurs soon. Perhaps they are onto something. If we look at those special meetings, wonderful times together in community with those we enjoy and love, then why not place these in the context of something which will continue.
The Unbroken Word is molded in this fashion; a means to stay together, be in contact, even if we have never said a hello except for the paper or smartphone you are reading it from. We all have a chance to savor the hellos and the goodbyes, but we do not have to think about them in any final way. The experiences of others affect us deeply, even when we sometimes do not recognize the impact.
So let us consider ourselves in a continuous community, as Jesus Christ wanted for his Church. We should say hello and au revoir without the pause at the end; knowing are united now, and will be forever.
Photo Title: Hello and Goodbye
THE FALSE HELLO
Another hello, said without thinking.
Why do I even greet this person if I don’t care about them?
What sort of person am I if I don’t.
Oh yeah, someone who is rude;
Others will notice me, deride me,
So I better say hello just to ensure that doesn’t happen,
Yikes, I just realized, saying hello to someone I don’t know is all about me.
Not about greeting them.
I wonder if others feel that way about me?