“You need to learn to raft well.”
Two of my friends stood before a group of people soon to be launched into yet another transition in life. Their goal?
To help them understand how to say goodbye well.
In a world growing smaller with technological strides forward, it could be assumed that connections with people are seen as significant. That interactions, made easier by our smart everything, would be genuine and long-lasting.
Not so much.
Our busyness pushes us to be real when it suits us. Trying to balance a schedule that is often more than I can handle, relationships that are more numerous than I can invest in well, and expectations of what I should be doing doesn’t leave room for authentic closeness and heartfelt goodbyes.
It’s easier to pretend I’ll see that friend again. Or isolate myself so I won’t have to deal with the loss of someone else moving on.
Or, as a friend did as a child, moving a lot with a military family, just pick a fight with my best friends and not be sad about leaving.
Rafting is all about Reconciling with people so we leave with no regrets; Affirmation, so the folks we care about know they matter to us; Farewell, which acknowledges leaving people and places close to our hearts; and Think Destination–prepare for moving on.
Our hearts have space to consider all we value.
So much of my life has been focused on moving on, don’t look back. Think ahead, don’t dwell on what I’ve missed.
If I don’t think about what I’m leaving, I won’t value what I’ve had. I won’t be prepared for what’s ahead.
Jesus’ disciples were a lot like that.
They’d spent three years with the One the Son of God. They’d watched as He fed thousands from a few loaves and fish, He raised people from the dead, healed those lame, blind and full of leprosy.
When He told them He’d be leaving them, they didn’t want to deal with it. When He explained He’d have to die–it was the reason Jesus came–they wouldn’t buy it.
They wanted things to go on as they had.
They expected Jesus would defeat their enemies and begin a reign on earth where the Jews would not be persecuted.
Good Friday put an end to that notion.
They didn’t end well with what came next. Jesus was arrested, put through a mock trial, tortured and then hung on a cross, the most humiliating and painful way to die.
The disciples ran, except John, the only one who stood by as his Lord hung in agony from the cross. He stood with the mother of Jesus.
There is no indication he said anything to his Lord as He died.
How do we end well? How do we know that we’ve done all we can to complete this life well?
By dealing with the One who gave His life up for us. He finished all the work that needed to be done to give us life.
If we receive that gift of forgiveness.
Are you finishing well?
What will you do with Good Friday?