Arnie’s parting shot of “Hasta la vista, Baby!” from The Terminator, isn’t perhaps the greeting one might appreciate from someone as you part company. I can’t forget the picture of Schwarzenegger using these words before blasting an enemy into oblivion. Yet in normal circumstances, it is a pleasantry used today to mean “so long” or “until we meet again.”
In a sauna recently I got chatting with a stranger. Our pleasant chat over, this gentleman (who I’m unlikely to meet again) said, “Take Care!” I appreciated him wishing me well and it got me thinking about how I say ‘Goodbye’. Interestingly, according to dictionaries, a form of ‘Good-bye’ has been used since the 1500’s and comes from ‘Godbwye’, shortened from ‘God be with ye.’ Through time the phrase seems to have been influenced and combined with ‘Good day’ & ‘Good evening’ to become ‘Goodbye’.

I’ve tried to use distinctive and thoughtful greetings for some time now. The Bay City Rollers put me off ‘Bye-Bye!’ and I don’t use ‘Good bye’ much either, though thoroughly appreciate its original sentiment. I used ‘Cheery-bye!’ till someone started calling me ‘Cheery-bye Urquhart’. I like ‘Au Revoir’, French for ‘Till we see each other again’ and equivalents ‘Hasta luego’ (Spanish), ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ (German) & ‘See you later alligator!’ (Mud)

‘Go Well!’ like ‘Bon Voyage!’ strikes the sort of positive note I like to part with people. The greetings I use the most to end letters, emails and meetings are: ‘God Bless!’ ‘God’s Best!’ ‘Awrabest!’ (All The Best) ‘Oraveryblest!’ (All the best of blessings), ‘God’s Very Best to & through you!’ St Paul’s ‘Grace, Mercy & Peace’, and Jesus’ ‘Shalom’ (a deep soulful, overflowing peace). It takes a bit longer but it’s a genuine expression of love and concern for the person I’m in touch with.

In future I may blog about ‘greetings for meetings’, because how we initially contact and connect with people is also important in being the caring, concerned, loving human beings God designs us to be. But this Thursday is Bert Loach’s ‘farewell’ funeral service (along with others I’m conducting). It was a pleasure learning and working alongside Bert. I had the privilege of praying with Bert, and his 4 dear daughters, before he died. You never know when might be the last time you get to say ‘God be with you!’ or something similar, to people you know, love, meet and greet. I imagine a smile on his face as I end this post, “Hasta la vista, Bert!”