LEAVING a job or moving away from friends can sometimes catch us up in abrupt, hurtful goodbyes. But prayer based on an understanding of what God is and what man is as His offspring can change frustration, sadness, and even bitterness to good will. Our goodbyes can then become well timed, meaningful, and fair. They express the thought ``God be with you,'' which is what goodbye means. Paul said, referring to God, ``In him we live, and move, and have our being.''1 In truth we live in God, Spirit, and He alone governs us. To begin to discern this spiritual fact is to gain dominion over the belief that we're governed by human opinions or conflicting human wills. The world around us may insist we are indeed subject to others' views. But prayer can help us glimpse the spiritual reality of God and man, transcending appearances, enabling us to prove that the spiritual view of man as governed by his Maker is true. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``Man is tributary to God, Spirit, and to nothing else.''2
In preparing for a goodbye, we might begin by acknowledging that God is with us, governing our thoughts and actions; that eternal Truth is with us, showing us what is right; that divine Love is with us, loving us.
Christ Jesus said, ``Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.''3 As we express the love with which God loves us, our hopes and aims are purified. The fear that things might not turn out the way we want begins to yield to a willingness for things to turn out God's way, to come into harmony with divine law.
Science and Health states, ``Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds.''4
I wanted to leave a volunteer job before my replacement was found. I felt burned out and thought I should just quit. ``Who cares about the problems I leave behind?'' I thought. Right then, a glint of love surprised me. Realizing that leaving suddenly could harm the organization, I was seeing things not just from my point of view but, to some degree, from the point of view of my co-workers as well.
In the Bible I read about Jacob's abrupt departure from his father-in-law, Laban. An eventual turning away from acrimony and tumult was confirmed by Laban's words ``The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.''5 This God-be-with-us goodbye showed me that I too could affirm that God governs. In reality, as God's spiritual offspring, I could not operate independently of His will, and His will for all is good alone. Progress is a matter of divine law. How could I fear I would be held back from good?
Also, I saw that being absent from others does not separate either us or them from good, because God, the source of good, is infinite. Knowing this, we support those we're no longer with.
Recognizing God's power to provide for my needs freed me to be attentive to my co-workers. I found my goal was no longer to leave as fast as possible but to be sure no one was left in the lurch. This desire sustained me through the months that passed by as, step by step, others assumed my tasks. A smooth transition was achieved, and while completing my volunteering I was also able gradually to take up new activity elsewhere.
If we feel it's right to leave a job or some other task, we can listen honestly, through prayer, for God's holy thoughts to guide us into a departure that will not hurt either ourselves or others. Our goodbyes, when they come, will be good ones.
1Acts 17:28. 2Science and Health, p. 481. 3Luke 6:36. 4Science and Health, p. 1. 5Genesis 31:49. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. I Thessalonians 5:11