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Goodbye is the hardest part.

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Tomorrow is our last day in Jordan.

My dear friend, Diana von Glahn, is leaving in the morning for Israel. She is leading a pilgrimage; so instead of going home on Sunday, she will be off to Nazareth. I’m sad. We have had a wonderful time together here, and I don’t know when I will see her again. I don’t know if we will ever travel together like this. I don’t want to say goodbye.

But I will be getting up in the morning and having a final breakfast with her.

Today, we saw Mukawir, King Herod’s fortress and the site of the beheading of St. John the Baptist. Neither Diana nor I are likely to die soon, but we are having to let one another go. That’s hard to do in friendship. That’s hard to do, period.

But she has a calling, a mission. And my mission is here, then home, then God knows where.

I thought of that today as I blinked back tears at the thought of her leaving tomorrow. I thought of that as I contemplated John the Baptist in the cave where he was held. He sent a message to Jesus asking if he was the One. That’s all he needed to know. Tell me again that you are the One we have waited for; tell me again that this is the plan. I can do all things–if I know this–even say goodbye to you, dear cousin.

Behold the Lamb.

Behold the momentary separation.

Behold a plan that is greater and more amazing than anything we can imagine.

At the end of life’s pilgrimage, we  also say our goodbyes. But they are not permanent goodbyes if we are in Christ. The things of this world are passing away. It just keeps happening as all things press on to the day of Our Lord’s return.

I stood among the ruins of Mukawir.

I thought of John and Jesus.

I thought of many things.

I thought of many people.

My priest.

My family.

My call to pilgrimage and all the goodbyes that we face in life–and death.

Even so, all things work together for the good of those who serve the Lord. Diana, go forth to serve the Lord in that unique and wonderful way in which God created you to serve.

And I will do the same. Until later, my friend.

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