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  • Praying Our Goodbyes

Praying Our Goodbyes

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"The word goodbye — originally 'God-be-with-ye' or 'Go-with-God' — was a recognition that God was a significant part of the going. When you dreaded or feared the journey there was strength in remembering that the One who gave and cherished life would be there to protect and to console. Goodbye was a blessing of love, proclaiming the belief that if God went with you, you would never be alone, that comfort, strength, and all the other blessings of a loving presence would accompany you."

Rupp begins with a meditation on the existential ache we feel within us that is related to our restlessness and our yearning for connection with God. A second ache stems from our painful goodbyes to parents, spouses, children, and friends. The author asks us to ponder these farewells and to confront what they mean to us. In the next section, Rupp deals with suffering and makes it clear that God is not behind the accidents, deaths, disease, and tragedies we experience. In the midst of these goodbyes, God is present with us as a loving and caring presence. Rupp shares some of the one-liners participants in her workshops have used to carry on in the midst of troubles: "This, too, will pass." "One day at a time." "God will provide." "No pain-no gain." "Be good to yourself." "Life is what we make it.

The last section of this book presents a series of prayers, complete with ritual elements, for those experiencing goodbyes. They acknowledge the cutting edge of grief and the anxieties accompanying suffering and loss. Rupp creatively presents images to spur meditation; for example, a pair of shoes to remind us of the constant movement both on the outside and the inside of us. These prayers speak to many different kinds or losses and sorrows and offer hope and encouragement.

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