Fairly Spiritual: Saying goodbye to good friends, warm spot at Tully’s


It’s not easy to part ways with a friend.

The finality of a goodbye is difficult to fully embrace. Consequently, we frequently let our goodbyes just slip away. Unwilling to accept the reality of our parting, we wish each other well as we hold out hope for future reunions. In time, “I’ll see you later” turns into “Whatever happened to…” Time passes and people fade away from our lives.

So many relationships end with words that conflict with the reality of the moment. Although there is nothing wrong with ambitious promises to reconnect, I think we sometimes miss the power of saying goodbye. We tend to use a more sacred verbal currency when we embrace the strong probability that we will not see someone again this side of heaven. Goodbye is the perfect time to say precious words we can cherish and remember.

This week the economy is forcing me to say goodbye to some very special people. One of my favorite places is closing. On Sunday, the Auburn Tully’s is permanently shutting its doors. Along with this closure, a small community of friends is being disbanded. Some of the baristas will transfer to other stores, while others will look for new career opportunities. It’s not a tragic ending, but it is an ending.

Along with the displacement of employees, there is a group of regulars who will simply have to say goodbye to our familiar caffeinated watering hole. Our bar is being shut down. Another one might rise in its place, but it won’t be the same. Change is never anything but different.

I first went to Tully’s because of the spacious floor plan and the warm fire. It was a good place to meet for an aimless conversation or to compose an aimless column. The Internet was free, the tables were clean and the music wasn’t blaring (at least most of the time).

To be honest, I never came for the coffee. Instead, a venti drip was the price I paid to spend and hour or two among friends. I didn’t set out to find friends, but over time the place just became too friendly to resist.

As a pastor, I always try to be polite. Who knows, maybe someone will actually visit my church. Frequently, that is my less than sincere motivation for sparking up a conversation. “Hey, how are you … and would someone please visit my church!” It doesn’t come out that way in reality, but I don’t think my motivations are always pure. Am I nice to people because people should be treated nicely, or am I just trolling for souls?

A place where everybody knows your name

Regardless, something happened at Tully’s that greatly affected my life. Without any grand intentions, I developed a community of friends. I began to genuinely care about the people who worked there, and they even seemed to genuinely care about me. Tully’s became a place where I went to be among friends.

With this in mind, I need to say my goodbyes. Lindsay, you are a very caring, gracious and thoughtful woman. You respect and accept people for who they are. You’re an excellent manager who has challenged me to be a better person and a better recycler. Thank you for your friendship. Don’t settle for anything less than God’s goodness for your life.

Christina, you have a tremendous sense of humor and a ridiculously contagious laugh. You are sarcastic, but there is still a sweetness to your cynicism. Thank you for your encouraging words. God has given you many talents and gifts. Don’t let anyone steal away your joy. I thank God for our friendship.

Melissa, MJ, Rachel, Sheri, Tiffany and all those who have moved on to other careers, I want to sincerely thank you for your kind words, gracious smiles, and genuine goodness. I’m particularly grateful for all the column suggestions. Thank you for putting up with the pastor in the corner.

In a couple days, a season in my life is about to end. Tully’s will close and everyone will move on. Even so, I want to say goodbye. So here it goes … to everyone at the Auburn Tully’s … goodbye and thank you. May the rest of your life be filled with grace, love and goodness. Until we meet again, I wish you a heartfelt goodbye.

Doug Bursch hosts “The Fairly Spiritual Show” at 10 a.m. Saturdays on KGNW 820 AM. He also pastors Evergreen Foursquare Church. Evergreen meets at 10 a.m. Sundays at the Riverside High School Theater. He can be reached at www.fairlyspiritual.org or doug@fairlyspiritual.org.