Dave Brisbin 6.23.19
On the occasion of saying goodbye to our worship leader and friend of nearly five years as she moves out of state, I realize how much I seem to have been saying goodbye over the past two years. People have moved and died and simply fallen out of touch, and each loss takes its toll on my willingness to start again, imprint again, hurt again. It seems to never get easier, and yet what is love asking of us? In the prose poetry of the The Prophet, Khalil Gibran’s spiritual masterpiece, love is spoken of as a difficult path, a sometimes violent process of transformation that must be swallowed whole—the pain as well as the peace—or life will always be lived in seasonless shallows where we laugh, but not all our laughter and weep, but not all our tears. It’s a far cry from any of our cultural notions of love small enough to fit on a greeting card.

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It’s the image of an expansive, mature, open-eyed love that Jesus would recognize, because he describes it as well in his own paradoxical way. He and the poets are telling us that love always means saying goodbye to loved ones—the more loved ones the more goodbyes. And to live in love is to remain willing to be graciously and fearlessly vulnerable, willing to be hurt again, to say goodbye again and again until the day someone is finally saying goodbye to us.

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