Goodbyes, no matter how warm and well done they are, always leave us feeling empty. Our lives consist of a series of "hellos" and "goodbyes". When I meet with a friend, I am excited prior to the meeting and anxiously anticipate. After the meeting, all is well, and the only thought in my mind is how to fully impress my feelings on that friend and hope that I will fully feel any feelings which my friend needs to impress on me. After all, anyone can listen, but to be able to completely absorb, understand, and share a deep emotional feeling takes a close friend.

And then, the inevitable time arrives. This time, more than any, we truly need to impress our feelings. An insincere goodbye, more than any instance of insincerity, whether intended or not, will leave a deep impression and will not be soon forgotten. For it is this last feeling which we will carry with us in a vain attempt to fill the void in our lives left by that loved one. The most memorable, loving, and enjoyable meetings can be virtually taken from our hearts when capped off by an insincere or cold goodbye. It is the finish to a race, which, though run perfectly and executed with the perfect tactic and perfect timing, fails to achieve a victory. How can we relish the race when we fail to achieve victory? After all, isn't a tropy nothing more than a physical reminder of the race which is gone forever? Such is the feeling we get from a loving, sincere goodbye.

And afterward, I will tell myself,"Don't be sad, for every goodbye leads to another joyful hello". Don't be so sure of this, because ultimately, we will all have a final goodbye, leave all our loved ones, and exit the way we came in, alone. What is the lesson in this? What is the consolation? There is no consolation unless we truly believe in an afterlife which will not require goodbyes, simply a series of hellos. The lesson to this? Never hesitate to tell those around you how important they are to you, as often as you can, and as strongly as you can, for today could be your beautiful goodbye, and you may not even know it.

February 16
Copyright 1998 Michael Paul

Scene of many exits>>>