What does it mean to say goodbye?
Our goodbyes are said when partying, when moving from one situation to another. We say goodbye when leaving home, when leaving school or work, when shutting the phone, when walking away.
At times, our goodbyes are much more long term-tears welling, hands trembling, body shaking, indistinct muttering. Closing a door, boarding an airplane, driving away. Packing up. Receiving a diploma. Shutting a coffin.
That’s what our many “goodbyes” are all about.
As humans, we are made to be able to adjust, to adapt. When you adapt to something, you spend a lot of time in that situation. When you adapt to someone, you tend to get emotionally attached.
Once emotionally attached to something with a knot so strong and tight, it’s hard to open that knot and find another rope to tie yourself to. Your rope would already be stretched from so much
pulling, and might find it hard to tie itself in a tight enough knot again.
Besides, what if you end up having to open, or even pull apart- the next knot as painfully as the previous one?
We are forever stuck in this process of tying and pulling and stretching our ropes until we might feel as if our ropes might just lose all their strands- never to be tied again.
What if we were to stop tying knots entirely? We wouldn’t be able to do that, however many introverts there are out there, and all people out there for that matter, are indeed humans,
and have that special ability to adapt.
Which of course, leads to attachment.
99.99% of the time.
A person can be attached to anything if they find comfort in it. A hobby, a habit, a person, a place, a ritual, a routine, or even an idea. In fact- a person having to let go of an idea they strongly believe in is said to go through the most trauma.
So, if it is so hard to say goodbye why must we go through the trouble, and always end up saying goodbye?
This life is a test, this life is the house of deception, and although some things may seem favorable over others, and some knots you may wish to tie seem extremely desirable- everything in this world is temporary.
And here is where we come back to having to move on. Like seasons change, like people grow and change in personality, like the way a butterfly emerges from the cocoon so intricately different from a caterpillar, our world is struck on and on with examples of change.
We must change, be it the end of a school year, moving to a new house, moving to a new country, or having to part from someone very near and dear, we have to change.
This life is temporary, and we too, we will have to move on to our next life, which has no change and has utter perfection. Where we look for perfection in the knots of this world, we will never find.
But in the hereafter, every pulled apart and queasy knot we have tied in this world-in a rightful manner- will be renewed like fresh fruit to never rot, filled with all of its sweetness.
We must realize that the solution is not within the knots. We can be puzzled about the pain of goodbye forever, scratching our heads and trying out goodbyes and flipping our situations this way and that.
What we may never do- sadly- is to look within ourselves. In reality, there lies the answer.
We have to realize that the solution to our painful goodbyes is within ourselves, in our perfect creation molded to excellency by the hands of Allah Almighty himself. We have the power within ourselves to choose our knots, and what we do with them.
Do we tie our knots very tight?
Do we stay away from certain knots that may hurt us?
Or do we just be patient and realize that this is a part of our test?
The power of choice is instilled within us. We can choose to tie knots with whatever and whomever we please. Truth be told, any pain caused is only the effect of our previous actions, and is a test for us.
It might have been that the knot was tied on a wrongful basis- like upon money, status, or physical appearances.
It might even be that as per circumstance, the knot was made at the wrong place at the wrong time. Or even that we became much too attached to something that is not eternal, upon something temporary.
If it is too painful to open a knot- we can do the one simple thing we never even think of doing and simply overlook. We can leave our knot as it is never to let go.
Yes- it sounds crazy, insane even- how on Earth are we supposed to keep tied knots that cannot be? What if we must move on? What if we must change?
Like a person values their memory, our heart thrives on our knots. Imagine a person who just had long term memory loss. How does it feel to be robbed of what you have rightfully earned- a lifetime full of memories that were yours and yours only?
Like this, our heart is driven mad- no matter how strong we pretend to be- by the opening of a knot. It practically opens up the heart. Yet, despite the morbid fact we think to be a fact that we just cannot keep all of our knots, we have to open our eyes and see that we can. Anything is possible.
And this is not the “anything” that is similar to pigs flying. This is something that if we do it, we can stop heartache, sadness, and depression almost instantly.
We can keep all of our ropes tied forever and beyond if we only learn to be patient and make ourselves strong, keeping in mind that this world is temporary at all times.
We can keep our ropes intertwined if never let go our grips on sanity and true human values like respect, care, thoughtfulness, patience, trustworthiness, truthfulness. If we open our every single knotour heart will be robbed.
Think again of the person with long term memory loss- and the thought of being robbed of every last memory. Our knots are what make up our memories. Our relationships, habits, ideas, anything we are strongly attached to, will always be a part of us. There is no need to rip apart our hearts. If we work for it- and if we wish it strongly enough- every part of our pasts- every knot will always be a part of us. If you wish to let go of an undesirable knot, it would be easy to let go of it. But those knots that are too difficult to throw away, we have the choice to keep. Granted, this world is temporary, and we should not have tied the knots so tight in the first place. But if the deed has been done and if we wish it strongly enough- our knots will always be alive.
Like memories, our knots will always be a part of us no matter what may happen, no matter if we must move on. Our goodbyes can be said, but not without the intention that this person, this thing, this situation we are saying goodbye to, will always be a part of us. Even if we change in this world, as it is a natural thing to do- we can mold our knots to our situations.
As us humans readily change, our knots never do.
True, as a person progresses, something one was once attached to may not be as important, but it will always be there, be the memory vivid or distant. Our attachments, our knots, will always be there, and aid us in our memories. Some memories fade away. Some knots fade away. But they are what make us, and these goodbyes are just a step from one stage, from one change to another.
Not a “goodbye”, as an end. But as a means to the final change into the hereafter, where we will be forever unchanged, our knots refreshed and clear, fresh, and new.
And now- with all of this into perspective- I ask you- what is the true meaning of saying goodbye?
To many people, yes, it can mean many things.
But if someone chooses to resist pain, and to keep their goodbyes merely as a transition and not an end, there is a pretty simple meaning to goodbye.
Goodbye is just a means of temporary parting. If you think about it, no goodbye is said without the intention of returning to that favorable situation again- even if it is for a short while, even if the person knows it is quite impossible to return to that situation. In our hearts, we will always have our knots with us, and we will never have to rip apart knots with painful goodbyes any longer.
True, we should not become too attached in the first place. But as in human nature, it is only natural for us to become attached.
Even the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) cried when he left Makkah, and when his 9 month old son had passed away.
Changing our knots, molding them to our changes, yet keeping them alive in the heart.
This is the true meaning of goodbye.
There is no ending in this world, not even in the next, just transition. And nothing can be thrown away, left behind, or left to die. If you wish it to be, everything; along with your knots and your memories; can stay very much alive, forever and ever.
When the Prophet left Makkah and migrated to Madina, his knot with Makkah was always strong. Allah allowed him to even go back, even if it was for a short while. The Prophet (pbuh) always loved Makkah, his home, and always will. He never let his knot break.
And the Prophet (pbuh) himself knew that although his tiny little son is in the heavens, one day he will be with him once more bi’idhnillah.
In my life, I have seen many people move on. People graduating, people moving away, people getting married, people changing for the better or for the worse, people slipping away and not being as close to you as they may have been before.
I used to feel pain that my knots have been untied and have been left to gush out and just keep gushing with every opened knot.
But what I learned is that even if people and situations changed, our memories and the knots we once had, will always be there.
There is no need for goodbye, because one day, if we are deserving enough, we will be reunited in Heaven under the grace of God, ever Merciful and Kind.
And I learned the lesson that although this world is temporary, and anything we become attached to will not always be the same, and that one day, if we work for it hard enough, we will have the hereafter that is eternal, never failing, never ending, never causing pain.
I sit back and think sometimes, staring at my best friend, my family, thinking of my loving parents and grandparents, my loved ones, my home sweet home.
I sit here, staring at my dear best friend, wondering how much time we have, wondering if breaking the knot would ease the pain, or to rather cherish every moment I have- pain regardless.
I sit here, tears gripping my eyes, wondering if tying a knot with anyone; be it with my parents, siblings, or friends, my significant other half; in the first place was even worth it.
But we already know the answer to that.
And if we truly work for it- we’ll have Heaven in our hands and our knots, tight, strong, and light to bear, spread across our shoulders like beautiful wings for the rest of eternity.