“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
How do you say “goodbye?”
For me, it depends on the circumstances. If I’m making small talk with a cashier in a store, I’ll say, “Have a good day.” If I’ve been visiting with a neighbor over a cup of coffee, I’ll say, “See you later!” If I’m about to run some errands, I’ll say, “I’m leaving now. I love you.” If I’m leaving a gathering of 175 people related by blood and by heritage, I’ll say . . . well . . . I don’t know what to say.
Early Sunday afternoon, my Mother and I left a family reunion where she was the second oldest of those in attendance. When it was time to leave, I didn’t know how to say goodbye to everyone. I had known some of those people since the day I was born. I didn’t know some of them at all. “Have a good day” was way too casual. “See you later!” was not a given. Some version of “I’m leaving now. I love you,” was accurate, but required a little explanation depending on the depth of the relationship.
So, when I was finally able to read my daily Bible verse today, I thought to myself, “You should have read this earlier in the day, Debbie.”
The priestly blessing recorded in Numbers is the perfect way to say “goodbye.” And though not uttered in person today, I prayed these words for every family member tonight.
“Lord, bless and protect every member of this family. Show each of them mercy and kindness. Be good to them and give them peace, until we meet again, in this world, or the next.” Amen
Many of us are accustomed to hearing the benediction from the book of Numbers every Sunday morning, and it is one that we, as members of the priesthood of all believers, can and should bestow upon one another. But if the entire blessing is intimidating for you, consider a simplified approach.
One of my best friends is Estonian. Her family’s tradition when anyone was leaving was to say, “Olgu Jumal Teiega,” which translated means, “God go with you.” Anyone can say, “Goodbye, and God go with you!”
My prayer is that every person I know and love will believe that when I say “goodbye” I am also trusting God to do the rest. To my beloved Sagvold family . . . “Goodbye, and God go with you.”