When I was a child visiting my grandparents, Grandpa would come out to the car with us, watch all 9 of us pile in and then he would lean over the open window of my father’s side and just stay there talking and talking and talking. Most of the time, the children all fell asleep, but Mom and Dad would continue to indulge Grandpa in conversation. It was too hard for them to say “goodbye.”
I know this from my Benedictine aunties who frequently told me about how homesick my grandparents were after the second group of daughters left to go to the convent in Illinois. My parents would “haul us” over to lessen the grief.
Jesus had to say “goodbye” to those he loved immensely too! Goodbye really is a prayer and a blessing that says “God be with you.” And Jesus made that promise to his beloved. He told them that the Father would send his Advocate, the Holy Spirit to be with them, to teach them and to guide them in all they do. If they forgot, the Spirit would remind them. What does it feel like to be Spirit-filled? For me, these are times of passionate energy as well as calming silence. I feel the Spirit urging me to speak on behalf of others, a compelling nudge to not let my silence mean complicitness. I feel the Spirit giving me the patience I never knew that I had. I can’t explain where it came from because I resisted. I feel the Spirit in recognizing the goodness that is in me from those who helped to form me to be the person I am today—my family, my friends, the people I have come to know through my years of ministry in many different places. It is always hard to say “goodbye.” I keep hanging on to the door of the car too! I wish I could stay in that mood, in that place, with those people. I pray that God will fill my heart with peace, even in times of anxiety. I pray the blessing prayer—“God be with you” and God be with me.