From the publisher…
We all have our own unique goodbyes - times when we lose someone or something that has given our lives meaning and value.
With the touch of a poet, Joyce Rupp has written a book about "these experiences of leaving behind and moving on, the stories of union and separation that are written in all our hearts." Praying Our Goodbyes, she says, is about the spirituality of change.
It is a book for anyone who has experienced loss, whether it be a job change, the end of a friendship, the death of a loved one, a financial struggle, a mid-life crisis or an extended illness. It is designed to help readers reflect, ritualize, and re-orient themselves -- to help heal the hurts caused by goodbyes and the anxieties encountered by change.
While focusing on the spiritual aspect of loss, Rupp maintains a sound theological and psychological grounding. She bases her reflections on scripture and treats a number of themes: the "ache" common to humankind, how to identify particular aches, attitudes toward suffering, Jesus and goodbyes, the life of "pilgrims" and the freedom of letting go.
Each chapter concludes with probing questions, and the book ends with 24 prayer experiences incorporating images, symbols and rituals as sources of strength and steppingstones toward healing.
"...When we learn how to say goodbye we truly learn how to say to ourselves and others: 'Go, God be with you. I entrust you to God. The God of strength, courage, comfort, hope, love, is with you. The God who promises to wipe away all tears will hold you close and will fill your emptiness. Let go and be free to move on.' "
"When our suffering refines us in such a way that it leads to an inner change or transformation that positively affects our lives or that of others, it becomes creative suffering."
Praying Our Goodbyes
Thoughts from the Author…
" ...Although life is difficult and always has its share of sorrows, life is also very good and deeply enriching. It holds many promises of growth and treasures of joy. It is not easy to believe this when we are hurting greatly because of our loss. Sometimes it takes years to understand and accept this truth. That is how it has been for me.
The grief of losing my brother (at age 23 to drowning) touched numerous areas of my life. I found myself fighting, avoiding, struggling with and being confused about the many forms of goodbyes that I experienced: being uprooted from one place to another, death of family, friends and a dear uncle, termination of a significant friendship of many years, betrayal by one I had trusted, struggles with church changes and with religious life decisions. Always the inner question 'Why me?' accompanied any deep hurt or demands to let go. I kept asking, 'Why should I experience the hard things in life when I am trying my best to be good?' I also had an angry 'Not me!' and a pitiable 'Poor me!' that rose up inside my aching spirit. Over the years I developed an attitude that said life was always supposed to be a continuous hello. The hurt and wreching ache of goodbye was not supposed to be there.
...Loss will never be easy for me, but I am much better at identifying the need to let go and at understanding the call to move on as a means of growth. Sometimes goodbyes still overwhelm me, but my questions are changing. Instead of asking 'Why me?' I much more readily ask 'How?' --How can I move gracefully through the ache of the farewells tha come into my life? I also ask 'Who?' -- Who will be with me in this process? -- because I know that I cannot go through intense leave-taking without some kinship and some loving support to sustain me.
....(During a 30-day Ignatian retreat) many essential, life-giving wisdoms surfaced: the hello-goodbye pattern as an integral part of all human existence, the necessity of change in order to have growth, and the need to let go before one can truly move on. I also learned that the cost of discipleship is inherent in any following of Jesus and that this following causes choices which mean goodbye to some parts of life and hello to others.
Most important, I discovered that for the Christian, hello always follows goodbye in some form if we allow it. There is, or can be, new life, although it will be different from the life we knew before. The resurrection of Jesus and the promises of God are too strong to have it be any other way."
- Joyce Rupp
Closing from Prayer of One Who Feels Lost
why do I keep fighting you off?
One part of me wants you desparately,
another part of me unknowingly
pushes you back and runs away.
What is there in me that
so contradicts my desire for you?
These transition days, these passage ways,
are calling me to let go of old securities,
to give myself over into your hands.
Like Jesus who struggled with the pain
I, too, fight the "let it all be done."
Loneliness, lostness, non-belonging,
all these hurts strike out at me,
leaving me pained with this present goodbye.
I want to be more but I fight the growing.
I want to be new but I hang unto the old.
I want to live but I won't face the dying.
I want to be whole but cannot bear
to gather up the pieces into one.
Is it that I refuse to be out of control,
to let the tears take their humbling journey,
to allow my spirit to feel its depression,
to stay with the insecurity of "no home"?
Now is the time. You call to me,
begging me to let you have my life,
inviting me to taste the darkness
so I can be filled with the light,
allowing me to lose my direction
so that I will find my way home to you.
Praying Our Goodbyes
Prayers for Those Experiencing Goodbyes
...(These) prayers are bridges, enabling the pray-er to move the pain to the spiritual realm. These prayers acknowledge the deep cutting truth of grief. They are meant to allow God's entrance into the inner rooms of our hurt and move a bit further into the healing process. Praying some of these prayers may begin a healing process or continue it, or perhaps be one of the significant, final gestures of closure in the process of moving on. --Joyce
Includes prayers for:
One Seeking Shelter in the Storms of Life
One Who Feels Broken Apart
A Pilgrim Who Struggles With the Journey
- A Lonely Day
- Farewell to One Who Is Leaving
- One Who Has Been Betrayed By Another
- One Who Is in Constant Physical Pain
- One Who Feels Lost
- One Experiencing Adult Transition
- One Who is Moving on
- One Terminating a Relationship
- When a Loved One Has Died
- Trust When Experiencing a Loss
- One Who Waits in Darkness
- Goodbye to the Lies in My Life
- Parents Whose Child Has Died
- Unite With Jesus in Suffering
- One Who Feels Terribly Poor Inside
- One Going to a New Ministry
- Accept a Parent
- One Weary With Walking Others Through Their Goodbyes
- One Who Needs Inner Healing
- One Who Yearns For a New Heart
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