My last hospital shift is now over. Fifteen years at the hospital and now I’m unemployed. It’s a happy and a sad feeling together – Happy to be moving, changing, (growing?). Sad to be leaving behind friends.

I wasn’t sure when it would finally hit me that I was actually leaving. Now I know. It was yesterday morning when I had to say goodbye to Tanya, our department secretary. She has to be one of the nicest people on the face of the earth. She would get there early in the morning, and I would go and raid her office of chocolate. We’d talk about books we were both reading (Anna Karenina), her kids, my house. It got to be kind of a ritual for me. (5:15! Tanya’s here!) I’m really going to miss her.

And then last night they had a small going away party for me. It was nice, although I hate being the center of attention. I know I’m terrible at goodbyes, but I didn’t realize just how bad I really was. It was awful. I didn’t know what to say to anyone. It was embarrassing and I wanted to just slink off and not let anyone see me going.

This morning I was okay until it came time to say goodbye to Jerry and Brandon. I still can’t really find the words to say about it. They are friends. And it’s hard to say goodbye to friends. And words are impossible when eyes sting and throats close.

It reminds me of Paul, writing of his last visit with the Ephesian elders in the book of Acts. Perhaps I understand that passage a little better now. And it makes me think of other goodbyes I’ll almost surely have to say in my life’s journey… of how I’m not ready for them to happen… of how I hope the words won’t fail me then… of all the things I hope I’ll be able to say beforehand…

God! Please bless my friends that I’m leaving behind. Have mercy on them! Guide them along the paths of their lives until they rest in you. Amen


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