Saying goodbye

August 02, 2012

View the Orignial Blog here

There are good byes and then there are goodbyes. Today there were some of each. A couple of good friends left the island today, one whom I had just met eight weeks ago, and the other who I met here two years ago. I frequently worked with one, and shared sleeping quarters with the other. One I am fairly certain I will see again, and the other is far more unlikely, yet possible. We say good bye often on Iona. Each Friday the guests that we have spent the week with say farewell. This is occasionally difficult, because you really get to know people over the course of a week. Sometimes it is very painful, as was the case of a five year old guest who was quite taken with one of the housekeepers. He was heartbroken at the pending loss of their friendship. Sometimes it is a gift to see them go. On Wednesdays we say goodbye to our colleagues. Early in the season this is less difficult, because you don't know the people very well, but as your time in service grows longer, so do the goodbyes. This morning was a goodbye based at least on seven weeks.

It is a little slice of life, compressed into tiny week size packages. Life is always about hellos and goodbyes. And just like most of life here on Iona, it is exaggerated by the beauty of the place, the colors of the sky, the glistening of spirit that seems to drip from everything you do.

But there is a comfort in the fact that these are probably not true goodbyes, probably more likely they are "adieu" or at least see you later. And while they may not make the absolute goodbyes less painful, they do give you practice for when they come. Today I learned that a good friend is saying goodbye, absolutely, to his young daughter.

There are no thinner places.