In the book Praying Our Goodbyes, Sr. Joyce Rupp the author, says that life is a series of hellos and goodbyes. The very first goodbye was the womb that nursed us for nine (9) months. Simultaneous to this we said hello to the world. The very last goodbye will be our last breath, but then again, our last hello will also be life eternal.
In between these two realities are the joy of hellos and the sadness of goodbyes. Joy is an emotion that needs no explanation. In fact, everyone welcomes it. On the other hand, grief is something very hard to deal with. As the saying goes, “the deeper the love, the more difficult the goodbye.”
Hence, in the Gospel story when Jesus appears to Mary of Magdala, we can just imagine what she was going through. She was so grief-stricken, that she did not even recognize Jesus in her midst. How often like Mary do we ask ourselves, “Where is God in these difficult times? Has he abandoned me?”
Should grief overwhelm us, there are three things we should remember:
- The Book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that: “Everything has a time, everything has a reason, everything has a purpose under heaven.” In other words, just as there are days that are sunny, we should expect that there are days that are gloomy. Just as there are days that are quiet and serene, there will be days that are stormy and difficult. It is all part of life.
- “Don’t be sad that it is over, be glad that it happened.” People come to our lives for a reason and a purpose. People, too, say goodbye for a reason and a purpose. In between these two realities, we should be happy that we have been blessed with a relationship. Should the day come to say goodbye, we are consoled with all the memories that goodbye cannot take away.
- “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” This is a covenant of God with us. Hence, in a life wherein nothing is permanent and that all are passing and fleeting, God is always with us.
This is what we pray for, that we may have a faith that is deep. Hence in times of sorrow and grief, amidst our tears, we may claim that, indeed, the Lord is always with us.