Today we had a going away party for two faculty members who are moving. Tomorrow. Somehow, the good-bye cards never made it to my box, and so I didn’t get to write my good-byes in a short, succinct manner in cursive handwriting. My fellow teacher Terran first offered me the sealed envelope to sign but then whisked it away, saying she wanted something that would make her cry.
“Actually,” she said. “I want a blog titled, ‘This is for you, Terran.’ ”
My title is pretty close. But this blog is also for Merry and Maria, and my graduating seniors. It is my chance to say good-bye; but I think I would prefer to say “Aloha.”
When I went to Cottey College for my first two years of school, the second-year students (lovingly referred to as “seniors” though they were mere sophomores; we freshmen took the title for ourselves the following year) serenaded us with a song titled, “Aloha.” The words went something like this:
Aloha means “we welcome you.”
It means more than words can say.
Aloha means “goodnight to you,”
“Farewell” at the close of day.
It’s just like a love song with a haunting sweet refrain,
Bringing you joy, bringing you pain.
Aloha means “good luck” to you,
“Farewell ’til we meet again.”
Terran and Merry, I’ve only known you for a short time; we’ve worked together, prayed together, even cried together. Maria, you aren’t leaving town, but I know how far away you will seem just because we aren’t working together. My dear seniors, you will never be an intact group; life will take you your separate ways. For all of us, even those of us who are staying, life will never be the same.
I think my life is richer because of the time I’ve spent with you, and I thank God for the joyful times and this sad good-bye.
It brings to mind what the angel, Clarence Oddbody, said in one of my all-time favorite movies, “It’s a Wonderful Life”:
“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
Thanks for touching my life. Rather than considering this good-bye an awful hole, I’m choosing to think “Aloha.”
Farewell, dear friends, ’til we meet again!