This morning during my one hour and 40 minute (but who’s counting) commute via car, BART, muni bus, and on foot, I was thinking about good-byes.  I wrote about good-byes back in June on my other blog.  I was ending the academic year at my pre-doctoral internship site and although I knew I would be returning in three months to complete the second half of the licensure requirement, there were good-byes to be said, and felt.  More recently, there were the good-byes to my Alaska family and friends a mere eight days ago.  Hard.  Heartbreaking. 

Last week I returned to my training site and was happy to say my hello’s.  Even so, the topic of good-byes and their effects remain on my mind and in my heart.  So I thought I would share my earlier blog entry (from my old site).  Meanwhile, I will continue to mull over the meaning of sharing oneself with others, many times when taking leave or being left behind, are in store.

Earlier June entry…

Of all the things I could write about on this very first day of June, 2007, I choose the importance of sharing one’s self with others.  As I set about saying my many good-byes this week to co-workers and others whom our paths crossed on a regular basis for the past ten months, I came face-to-face with the impact of sharing myself.  This realization boiled down to this equation:  the more I authentically share of myself with others = the deeper the connection and/or dialogue, if even for brief periods of time = a richer life. 

These past seven days have been filled with good-byes, some of them for just the summer since I plan on returning to this site for my final pre-doctoral internship year.  But even those relationships will be different as there will be a new cohort group.  And then there were the good-byes to those trainees who are moving onto other jobs and locations – more permanent good-byes, if you will.  There were good-byes with clients, some planning on returning to continue their work with me in the coming year and others unsure.  Finally, there were good-byes with those people who have been in my life due to little things – BART riders who rode the same train at the same time that I traveled, the shuttle bus driver, the security guard at the city library, and, two of the homeless people whom have befriended me and me them.  I’ll be taking a different commuter route when I return so I won’t be seeing some of the folks I’ve gotten to know.

This getting to know the other comes in many different shapes, sizes, depths, and layers.  I know about the library security guard’s life, sort of.  I know when he gets up and how far he lives from his work.  I know his family member’s names and children’s ages.  I know how long he’s been a security guard there (14 years) and some other little tidbits about his life and political leanings (he’s torn between being a middle-of-the-road liberal to being a bit conservative fiscally).  I also know him from my observations  – he is a kind man.  A man who will let homeless fellows sleep just a few minutes past when he’s mandated by the library to rouse them.  And when he does wake them, he’s nice and sings a little morning jingle before pronouncing that their day must begin.

This man and I have never had what some might call a deep or meaningful conversation.  But as I review the past ten months and the added texture and color that he along with others (the fast food restaurant employees where I stopped on a semi-regular basis for a cup of joe and the homeless people whom I came to recognize and several who were more than just a passing hello) brought to my mornings, I must suggest a re-definition of meaningful.  My interactions with these folks and theirs with me, meant something in my day – added a bit of a boost – a human connection – roused me on more than several occasions from a self-centered litany of self-absorbed worries. 

I will miss them.

The good-byes with my co-workers were much sadder than I imagined since I had not imagined any sadness.  But as I sat with my two supervisors and received my final performance evaluation for this year, each of us could feel the impact of our good-byes.  I think this was because we had chosen to share of ourselves in meaningful ways throughout the training year.

The sadness that I felt yesterday and that lingers in my heart today is actually a good thing.  The ache reminds me of the importance of human sharing and connection.  I will miss these people. 

Today’s continued musings…

Typing this entry has been a cathartic exercise for me and a reminder of the importance we hold in each other’s lives.  I am still glad though that I am no where near saying a good-bye using this venue as I am just getting started as a brand new blogger.  I like this opportunity to share and potentially deepen ties with others – future good-byes or no.  For now, I am choosing the meaningful sharing route.