Thursday evening one of my students was accompanied to class by her husband. Since they were speaking Spanish to each other I bade him “Adios” upon his departure. So much for trying to be polite. I have since learned that “Adios” in Spanish and “Adieu” in French have the same meaning and are to be used by the person leaving to the person being left behind, which was I. Both words mean, “I commend your safety to God.” The person being left behind should respond in Spanish, “Farewell” meaning, “Have a safe journey.” I hope that I got points for trying. Being wrong is nothing new for me. If degrees were awarded for errors I would have accumulated several doctorates by now.
Our English “Goodbye” actually means the same thing as “Adios.” “Goodbye” is a 16th century contraction of “God be with you.” (God be ye) I had to smile and wonder how many atheists unknowingly say “Goodbye” to their friends and family?
Paul’s favorite closing was similar. Many of his letters finish with “Grace be with you.” Obviously this is a shortened version of “May God continue to shower you with forgiveness and care.”
In Scripture we have many stories of angels visiting people and their opening express usually was, “Do not be afraid.” I think we can certainly understand the need for that. I certainly would need that.
Being that I need to finish now, “Grace be with you.”
Written by Roger Bothwell on October 11, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453