It’s been a pleasure.
I don’t know why we never realize it until we face something tough, like saying goodbye to 35 of my newest friends, but there’s something about hard times that help me understand Scripture better.
You see, I was just thinking about how we always want to be in that next place. We are always looking to the future, to the next great thing. For years, I have wanted to study abroad, and now that it’s over…well, what’s left? A dream achieved! Studying abroad is something I am proud to say I have done! But now, it feels a little strange because I have to come up with a new dream. Or how about the last three to four weeks of the program? I’ve been longing for home: that paradox that makes me understand why goodbyes are often termed “bitter sweet”. Vieras que, after so much time away from all those I have loved for years and years, I want to be with them – that’s the sweet part, knowing my longing will soon come to an end. But what makes it bitter is that I have to say goodbye! To Costa Rica, for an indefinite time. To my beloved host family, for an indefinite time. To all of you, my SOLmates and my companions on this journey, also for an indefinite time.
So I can now say that I understand that Scripture, “this hope is an anchor for my soul,” just a little bit better (Hebrews 6:19). Because despite all those indefinite times, I’m sensing a theme. I always seem to want that which is yet to come. Because I think I’ll feel more complete, more full, more myself, when I have that part of me which I am missing back together again. (Are you following me?)
But get this: the Bible says we are made for Heaven, that this is not our home. So I have hope that anchors my soul. This hope tells me that when I long for what is next, what will make me feel more complete, it is because I long for Heaven: where we will be as He is. (“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” 1 John 3:2) In all my time abroad, I have always found I could feel at home in any Catholic Church. Because I know that my home is not here, and my soul longs for Heaven.
So SOLmates, while I may have spent a lot of time longing for home those last few weeks, know that home for me, is also in each of your hearts. That your friendships have helped sanctify me, because each of you have showed me a little bit more about who God is. My home is spread out between where you are, and I cannot wait for the day when I see you again in Heaven, if not before. All my love!