What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies. ~Jack Kerouac, On the Road
What is goodbye? We have been talking about this a great deal as a family as we prepare to leave this continent in a few weeks. In some ways, it feels like all we do is say goodbye. This past week we said goodbye to special friends, classmates, and especially my mother, who came for a visit. We said goodbye to a dear friend and teacher that passed away due to illness. Even saying goodbye to Roberta, at the gelateria we frequent, was important. The implicit truth in so many goodbyes is that there are meaningful relationships to honor in parting.
The experience of wandering has taught us that saying goodbye is not one big event or show that requires toasts and gifts. We have learned that saying goodbye is very much like everything else. It is about intention and presence. We have learned that saying goodbye is about paying attention to the moment and wishing all good things for the object of our parting … Wishing them to farewell.
Is it forever? Where do you go when you die? Will we be back? These are all questions our children asked this week during varying degrees of parting. We don’t know the answers, but we know that we are here now and our ability to be present is everything. We have crossed a threshold. The varying definitions of the threshold are a necessary point of entry or beginning. The magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested. The level at which one starts to feel or react to something.
We have indeed crossed another threshold into the unknown and we are grateful to have all the stirring that comes from goodbyes to propel us into our next adventure.