These challenging times have more and greater transitions than we dreamed possible. Ordering groceries online, opening our homes to family as safer places, saying good-byes because we can’t travel or congregate. And many of us are naive to not think about the biggest of transitions—death. In his beautiful story about a Jewish family in Berlin during the beginning of WWII, Fred Licht writes about how we say good-bye to people reveals a lot about how we feel about our own mortality.
“Every farewell brings with it a premonition of death, or the ultimate farewell. Our grief that is diluted but never quite dissipated by time, and surges to the surface ever more strongly, each time a new turning in our lives tears us from old customs and friendships. This is more than just a premonition, but a prophecy. Are we able to part with friends with conscious dignity, or is it with a hasty nervousness, anxious to get it over. When we come to partings, are we baffled and confused or can we look steadfastly at what we can’t understand and accept it nevertheless? What really frightens us is the foreknowledge that we will do no better when the final parting comes.”
How are we engaging our transitions these days? What are we learning?