There are ways of parting with things and people that give honor to the sacred in life. Sometimes these movements of leave-taking can be made internally through attentiveness and prayer. Sometimes a gesture is needed to express to the universe and God the gratitude one feels toward what has been given. These gestures of honoring can be made in relation to objects, plants, animals, people, places - all things that we give value to.
I was inspired to write this by my saying goodbye to a very modest wooden box that had served as the platform for an altar for many years. Though its muted carving had been hidden by an altar cloth and so was invisible to others, I knew that this carving had been handmade with love a long time ago and that the box had served a most sacred purpose. Despite the fact that it was a 'thing,' with a consciousness limited only to its cells and the vibrancy of life within it, I felt its value as I parted from it at the local Transfer Station where wood gets recycled or disposed of.
Always, in parting, the gesture of gratitude mitigates whatever sadness might exist about saying goodbye to something loved. And so it was at that moment when I left this box there with many other pieces of wood and took my leave of it, giving thanks for its existence in my life.
All things ask this of us, all people, all places, all that we encounter in life - the small and the large. The inner wisdom of the moment must override whatever conventional sense we have that is produced by society's estimation of what is important and what is not, to allow the heart to express its love in full measure. This is the basis for honoring - gratitude and love toward what has been given. And in all things, we can make the gesture of reciprocity, especially when saying goodbye.
Here is a a simple prayer of closure upon parting - even parting from a box:
Thank you for being in my life.
Thank you for bringing your existence into it.
Thank you for serving so well.
I give you back to the universe with gratitude and love.