pastoral/spiritual care

Adios: Go With God or Just Plain Goodbye?

I have had the luxury of being able to study and learn the Spanish language in high school and college, and to use it in my work in the hospital setting.  It is particularly helpful to speak with Spanish-speaking patients and families, and to go out of my way to share some words in their native language.  At times, I will pray with families and patients in Spanish, and I find myself feeling deeply connected with them just because I choose to use their language.  For me, it also causes some greater internal reflection as I search for words that would be correct, meaningful, and inspirational to their hearts and minds.  In addition to Spanish, I have studied some elementary Greek and elementary Hebrew in theology classes for the purpose of reading and translating the original biblical languages and texts.  Language is something that seems to grow out of one’s core being, and I have found all of them to be edifying and enriching towards my own spiritual life.  In the case of Hebrew, it sometimes takes two to four English words to translate one Hebrew word.  Hebrew is both succinct and full of images, and a favorite of mine for those reasons.

 In many Spanish-speaking countries, the word “Adios” is used to say goodbye.  It is the English equivalent of “Goodbye” and “See you later.”  The literal word means, “To God” or “Go with God.”  I have always liked the word because of its connection and use of “Dios” (God).  For me, it is a religious way of reminding myself and others that God is with them and me on our journeys of life.  The usage of “Adios” gives voice to the powerful theological concept that God’s presence and care is with us as we live, work, and play.  Even more importantly, God is with us as patients as we have MRIs, scans, blood-draws, chemotherapy and even grieve the temporary and sometimes permanent loss of health and wellness.

For some the word “Adios” only means “goodbye” or “see you later.”  There is nothing religious or spiritual about it.  The word is only a simple way to give a farewell greeting.  When I say it to others I want the word to literally mean, “May you go with God on your journeys in life,” and “May God be with you guiding you and helping you as you need.”  I know that patients and families in hospitals certainly need that small reminder and blessing that says, “Adios” and “Go with God.”  It is my own way to ask God to be with others and to remind others that God is for us and with us in the hospital and beyond.  So, Adios to you this day and may God’s presence and care be with you in all of your needs.

Dear God:  Go with us on our daily journeys of life.  Be with us when family and friends come and go in the hospital and may we know your presence in the travels and daily activities of life.  Amen.

-- Chaplain George M. Rossi


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