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A pilgrim's heart and mind (Part I)

A pilgrim's heart and mind (Part I)

My very good friend of more than a decade has decided to return to the United States. This means that we will no longer do the things we used to do when she was here. I feel sad because I have to say "goodbye," all over again.
I have never been good at goodbyes. It started with medical school. I had to fly to Manila every school term. With each flight, I would don sunglasses to hide the tears that flowed each time the plane took off and I saw my parents waving at me. I was miserable in medical school. It's a wonder I passed my subjects!
During residency, I cried again each time my sweetheart returned to Taiwan. We got married and had children. Then, I had to say goodbye to our only daughter each time we visit her, to return to Taiwan.
Through the years, several good friends came and went. I had to say goodbye them all. It hurts each time this happened. It is only now that I finally found the reason why nothing and no one is forever, why we have to say "goodbye."
As migrants, we have to deal with the pain of farewells. We brave employment in a foreign land, when all we want to do is stay in our country where we are not treated like second-class citizens. We yearn to be at home with our families. We have huge phone bills in order to stay connected to our loved ones.
Sometimes though, the loneliness is such that we resort to undesirable solutions. We totally forget our responsibilities back home, and hook up with someone whom we hope could take away the pain of loneliness. This action though, is not the remedy to our problems. In the long run, it will only make matters worse than it already is.
After much reading and meditation, I surmised that the reason we have to say goodbye to people, is because God wants us to realize that He is the only "constant Being" in our universe. He wants us to depend solely on Him. Furthermore, we must cultivate the attitude of a "pilgrim heart." Joyce Rupp, in her book, "Praying our Goodbyes," enjoins her readers to have the "on loan" philosophy of life. This means we should thank our Creator for loaning us to each other. But this is only for a short while. The realization that everyone and everything is "borrowed" will help us with the process of "letting go." We do not own anyone or anything. We should be thankful for all that God has loaned to us. We can hold our treasures with open hands knowing that they are not ours to keep.
To weather the pain, Joyce Rupp writes that we must pray our goodbyes. She enumerates four aspects of praying a goodbye. When we decide to pray our goodbyes, the elements merge and are not so easily distinguishable from each other. We can find them when we bring our pain to prayer. It is a painful process, but it really helps.

(To be continued)


Updated : 2021-10-22 18:46 GMT+08:00