After accidentally sleeping through my alarm this morning, I ended up not going to church. However, I didn't want to be a bad Catholic, and so I found an online mass that I could watch. As it turns out, the message I got here was a great one, and I wanted to share that. I can't remember what the gospel was about exactly, but I know it was something in Revelations, which many Catholics find to be one of the most frightening books to read -- end of the world, descriptions and depictions of places you really don't want to end up.
Whatever the reading may have been, the priest was talking about loss, and how some of us might have undergone some really great losses in our lives. This could be the death of a spouse or child, or the loss of a really good friend. We feel that, with those chapters closing, a piece of us dies in the process. Certainly we will never regain that piece -- and there will forever be a hole where those people once were in our hearts.
But imagine how the disciples felt as the time came for Jesus to undergo the passion, and willingly walk into the hands of death. What would it be like to be a disciple during this time? So often (in fact almost always) is the focus during these events on Jesus, his sufferings, and his trials. And yet, we are quick to neglect the feelings that the Disciples might be feeling too. Can you imagine the feelings of anxiety and trepidation if someone close to you told them that they were about to exit your life (whether through moving away or worse, death)?
This was perfect for me -- as I am about to graduate, and move a whopping 2934 miles away from my hometown in NJ (that's door to door, from my street to the front door of Oregon's campus). I will dearly miss the people I've met here and while graduation is exciting, Oregon is exciting, and graduate school is exciting, the elephant in the room is the distance, and the loss of communication. Likewise, these ideas can totally be related to the recent end of my latest relationship. Allow me to explain.
Jesus didn't just leave without saying anything. He prepared them for the loss. He told his disciples three things that would keep them from losing their minds. First, he said that no matter how difficult or jarring things may be, it is all a part of God's plan. God is in control and he knows what he is doing -- all we have to do is trust in God. Second, Jesus explained that his leaving would bring about something even better; and therefore it's necessary for him to depart so that the Father can send down the holy spirit. And that Holy Spirit is not just a memory of Jesus, or a bit of ambiguous knowledge, but rather the love of the Father and the Son, and something to remind everyone of everything he had talked about in life. Finally, Jesus leaves us a gift -- he leaves his peace behind. And this is not peace in the general way we think of peace, but rather a peace in knowing that he will return -- the departure is temporary.
And so to relate back to the current issues of my life: I am physically leaving, but the friendships will remain. Whether it be through letters, emails, texts, tweets, or phone calls, those friendships will live on, and no one can take those memories from me. I just have to trust that people will put in just as much effort as I plan to. Likewise in love, I have to accept that that specific type of love has left my life for the time being -- yet its departure is temporary. I will find another, and that person will have the capability of blowing my mind every day. All I have to do is trust that there is a plan for me. Ironically as it is, I told my parents that exact thing when I called them to break the news. I knew then, and know now, that no matter what happens, God wants me to learn and grow and continue bettering myself every day. There are lessons to be learned, truths to be accepted, and challenges to overcome. But they will not and never will be for naught; as they are always, always, always, leading to something new, something better, something exciting.
After all, you can't cross a river without getting your feet wet.