Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hello and Goodbye

"Be kind,
for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
Greek author & philosopher in Athens (427 BC - 347 BC)

There have been some chapters in my life when I've said goodbye to people just as quickly as I've said hello. While the paths have crossed so quickly, there's no guarantee that farewells would come easily.

Several times I have asked the question, "Where's the good in goodbye?", because goodbyes are usually associated with uncertainty, separation, hurt, and sorrow.

More often than not I find myself saying "See you tomorrow", "Until then", or "'Til next time" when the moment of parting ways has come because it somehow lessens the impact of something's coming-to-an-end. It is a sort-of denial of the moment of truth when each one must go his or her own way.

Celine Dion's song "Goodbye's (The Saddest Word)" is about a mother leaving her child, perhaps even pertaining to the mother's passing away, which is one of the hardest goodbyes of all. Listening to it always brings tears to my eyes.

Goodbye's the saddest word I'll ever hear
Goodbye's the last time I will hold you near
Someday you'll say that word and I will cry
It'll break my heart to hear you say goodbye

'Till we meet again...
Until then...

Still, where is the good in goodbye?

Today is one of those days when I ask the question once, twice, three times because I had had to say goodbye to this precious little boy who has seemingly taught me more than I have taught him. It was difficult to see him go and accept the fact that that moment might be last time we will ever see each other, especially when I know I could have done something more to help him.

Out of the blanket of sadness, a friend's voice popped in my head. He shared to me an initially trivial information about 'goodbye' and just to make sure I remember it right, I searched the world wide web for it:

good-bye XVI. Early forms God be wy you, God buy'ye, God b'uy, Godbuy, contr. of phr. God be with you or ye, with later substitution of good for God, after good day (XIII), good night (XIV).

T. F. HOAD. "good-bye." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Retrieved October 18, 2009 from

That's right. Goodbye is derived from God be with you. When I first heard it, I was almost skeptical but it totally blew me away.

So where is the good in goodbye?

It is in believing that God is with those kindred souls whose lives have been touched by that meeting of theirs even though they eventually have to part.

Now that I understand this more clearly, I have to keep it in mind and eventually in my heart, no matter how much it hurts sometimes.

God be with you.


  1. And if God is with you, you will never be alone, even in solitude. For he said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb. 13:5). He never says 'goodbye!'

  2. I couldn't agree more. Amen to that!


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