Words to Leave By

I have an unwritten rule about not agreeing with anything proclaimed by people who put a “z” where a “s” should be or who use and form of the number 2 to replace the word “to.”  There is one exception to this rule.  I agree with Boyz II Men— it is hard to say goodbye to yesterday.  And anyone or anything else for that matter.

I don’t think saying goodbye is always hard in the same way that running a marathon wearing uncomfortable shoes would be hard.  More often it is hard for me in an awkward kind of way.  Like trying to explain to your friends why you like Justin Beiber.  Not that I’ve ever had to do that–it’s just an example.  Don’t judge me.

Anyway, my difficulty saying goodbye is probably an inherited trait.  My parents seem to have the same problem.  I remember having visitors come to our house when I was a kid get up to leave and head to their car only to have my parents follow them outside to spend another hour in conversation.  The first goodbye was only a warm-up.  Goodbye would be said in various ways at least a half a dozen times before our guests actually got in their cars and backed away.

One of my problems with saying goodbye is finding the right words to use.  “Goodbye” has a eery finality to it, like you’re never going to see the person again.  “See you later” sounds a little dishonest; you may or may not really see them later.  Foreign words like adios, sayonara, or arrivederci make me sound like a tool.  And I’m not rich enough to say “farewell.”  That’s for people who drive fancy cars, have nannies, and aren’t overdrawn in their checking account on a semi-regular basis.

After years of trial and error I have finally settled on a few words to leave by that I don’t find too awkward.  Some of them might make me sound like a dork, but that’s okay.  I am sort of a dork.  Or a full-blown dork.  Whichever.

Here they are in no particular order (I don’t want them getting jealous):

1.  Take it easy.  Light and carefree, I imagine that this is the parting statement used by Matthew McConaughey–the guy that I would choose to look like if I could choose to look like any other guy.  No, I don’t have a man-crush on him.  I just think he’s the epitome of manly cool, that’s all.  Alright, alright, alright.

2.  Keep it real.  Yes, I am fully aware that it is almost 2011 and that this hasn’t been something popular to say for at least five years.  Probably longer.  That’s just how I roll.  Oops, I did it again.  My bad.  Okay–I’ll stop now.

3.  Be Cool.  I listen to sports talk radio.  There–I admitted it.  A lot of it is drivel and many of the callers are more annoying than a wobbly table at Thanksgiving, but some of the callers are like the dish rags you stuff under a couple of the legs.  They help to even things out.  One caller goes by the name of “Hitch.”  I don’t know his real name, his occupation, or where he lives.  But he ends every call by saying “Be cool.”  I like that.

4.  Saw ya.  I haven’t used this one yet, but it’s only a matter of time.  It’s funny in a strange sort of way and it is accurate.  “See ya” may be false because you may never see the person again.  “Saw ya” is true, even if it is a little bit annoying.  When making a statement, I usually favor accuracy more highly than whether or not the statement is annoying.  So, I’ll soon be saying “saw ya” on occasion.  Prepare yourselves.

5.  Be good…or not.  I remember the first time I said this.  It was after a sermon where I mentioned that our goodness has no bearing on how much God loves us; He loves us because He is good.  Being good is also not what gets us to Heaven; only surrendering to Jesus is able to accomplish that feat.  As I was shaking hands with the people leaving after the sermon, I began saying this and it has stuck.  In essence, I am encouraging people to be good with a reminder that they are still loved even if they aren’t good.

I guess that I have come to a conclusion about what I say to people when I leave them: if they are followers of Jesus I will see them again no matter what happens after we part. 

Believing in Jesus matters.  How we say goodbye to each other?  Not so much.

(What are some of your words to leave by?   I need a few more to add to my repertoire.)

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