Wednesday, July 07, 2010

"Hello!" and "Goodbye . . ."

Well, it has been a long time since Easter and much has happened. I have survived the "Season of Hope and Dread." I'm talking about the United Methodist season of moving; that period from January to June in which Methodist preachers must live in eternal (at least until the DS calls) and torturous uncertainty about their future. During that time, if you pay attention, you can learn a lot about yourself, and the people around you.

First thing? People are much better at "Hello!" than they are at "Goodbye . . ." "Hello" always comes with an exclamation point. "Goodbye" (if said at all) always fades away into those three little dots that mean you've run out of things to say. The ellipsis (that's the "three little dots" for those who are grammatically-challenged) is an awkward pause in print, written proof that you are uncomfortable.

Compare the number of people who stop by to say "Hello!" versus the number of people who stop by to say "Goodbye . . ." There's no comparison! How many friends just stop calling, or get mad at you for something just before you leave? Its because saying "Goodbye . . ." is too hard for most folks.

For a new preacher, the "Hello!" is overwhelming! So many people help you unload the truck, hang pictures, put up ceiling fans, etc. It is great! Hospitality is the most under-emphasized Christian virtue, but it is definitely the most sweetly received.

Thank God for new beginnings! Thank God for people who say "Hello!" Thank God for people who welcome a weary traveler and his family, especially when that traveler is the new preacher.

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