Excerpted from Ira Byock’s book, The Four Things that Matter Most: A Book About Living.
Please forgive me I forgive you Thank you I love you
Byock notes the importance of stating the obvious in our relationships as a way to connect in profound ways to those we appreciate, especially when we recognize it is time to say goodbye. She states,
“We assume that the people we love know that we love them, even if we’ve had our disagreements and tense moments. Yet when someone we love dies suddenly, we often have gnawing doubts.”
The Four Things are powerful tools to utilize when it is time to say goodbye to a congregation. Saying the Four Things helps us to experience reconciliation in the midst of regrets or rifts that have divided us. They help us to acknowledge in a powerful way the impact of and appreciation for the relationships developed during our time together. They also help us to bring closure to relationships.
In the liturgy for pastoral transitions in our Book of Worship, some of these statements are integrated into the liturgy as a way to acknowledge the significance of the relationship between pastor and congregation, and as a way to say the most important things to each other as we say goodbye.