“Now you may leave. Go in peace.”
Have you noticed that, when parting ways with a friend, how often we speak to each other a blessing or a promise?
“Good-by” is the abbreviated form of the blessing, “God be with you.” The French say adieu – which means, “Go with God.” In Spanish, adios means the same thing.
Even in our secularized culture we still offer the common benediction: “Have a nice day!”
When we’re not wishing them well, then we tend to leave others with a promise of reunion, such as “See ya later.” Whenever I left the home of an old German couple, they would wave and say, Auf wiedersehen, and I would return the sentiment by saying, “All feet are the same!” My sister says “See ya later, crocodile,” and my mom (whose native language was Finnish) used to say, “Näkemiin, Jellybean” – which is roughly translated, “See you later, you oblong, gelatin-based sugar candy.”
Roy Rogers and Dale Evans have trumped everyone by combining both a blessing and the wish for reunion with “Happy trails to you (blessing) until we meet again (reunion).”
There are, of course, times when people offer neither blessing nor promise. The British like to say tootle-oo or cheerio. But then the Brits will be Brits, and there’s not much we can do about that.
What causes this common desire that those we leave would be blessed and that we would meet again? You could say, I suppose, that these blessings and promises of reunion are simply ways to ease the awkwardness of leaving someone, but I’m not buying it.
C.S. Lewis says that a man’s hunger doesn’t prove he will get bread, but it does indicate that there is such a thing as food which is necessary to nourish his body. Peter Kreeft jumps on this point by claiming “No one has ever found one case of an innate desire for a nonexistent object.”
“If I find in myself a desire,” Lewis goes on to say, “which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
When we part from friends and loved ones, we share a longing that God would go with them; that they would fare well. And we long to be reunited again.
I believe the blessings and hopes of reunion that we offer each other when we part speak to a deeper reality. They express the spiritual longing that God would bless us and reunite us in heaven.
A man’s hunger doesn’t prove that food exists, but it does indicate it’s available to us. God is inviting us all to the Big Reunion.
(text copyright 2012 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)