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A Prayer for Disappointing Good-Byes

I wrote this prayer for a friend and her family who had to say good-bye to a foreign exchange student sooner than they expected or wanted, but it is a prayer for all the unexpected or disappointing good-byes in this time.


who knows what it is like to say good-bye,

This isn't the way we planned

to say good-bye,

the waiting and wondering

and not knowing when

has melted away

and the time has come.

This isn't the good-bye we would have chosen.

Physically distant,

without the "last time" markers

that might have brought some much needed closure,

or at least the chance to inscribe one more memory.

Good-byes, and even see you laters,

already come heavy laden with grief.

To say good-bye now, in this way,

our grief is multiplied,

accompanied by disappointment,

frustration, anger.

Be present in our leave taking O Christ.

Where there was joy, strengthen our memories.

Where there was pain, soothe the ache. 

For the one that leaves, 

grant traveling mercies

and a loving welcome at the other end of their journey

For the ones left behind,

fill the emptiness of new absence

and create space for grieving the good-byes that were left unsaid.

As our paths diverge,

you are the tie that binds

across time and space.

Though we part ways today, 

you have seen our stories entwined.

May we all be better for the time we spent together.


Sarah Kingsbery

May 19, 2020

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