Leaving

What do you say after your bags are packed, money is transferred for two months of bills, the boarding passes are printed, and you have tomorrow’s clothes in a neatly-folded pile waiting to be worn before the sun is up?

What does it mean to shed a house-worth of stuff, two jobs, countless names and roles, so that everything left fits into a fifteen-pound pack?

Honestly, the only thing I can think is that it’s a little bit like what death must be like. A final parting wave and then—nothing. No roles. No to-dos. No more appointments. And perhaps, the same promise of unending joy. Don’t we all eventually run out of time? This feels like a practice run.

When you go, those who are left get a chance to say how much you were loved, how much you gave, and what a difference you made while you were here. I leave in less than twelve hours, but for weeks  I’ve heard things like, “You’re so inspiring!” and “We’re going to miss you.” and “May you be blessed on this journey and find everything you’re seeking.” and “I love you.” Something about my departure is inspiring loved ones to pause and say the heartfelt things we don’t usually. Me too.

Why do I wait? Why do we hold back? I want to remember this poignancy every day: Speak from the heart. Tell the truth. Take the risk.

In the end, there’s nothing left but love. None of the stuff matters.

Here’s what I know: the spaciousness of the days ahead call to me. The friends I’ve yet to meet are out there already walking towards Santiago. The Holy Door is open, waiting for me to walk through and receive mercy. And after, there will be only weeks of days of walking in reflection, in joy, and in occasional confusion as I find my way in reverse.

And when the walking is done, I will have a home to come to, a devoted wife (who, by the way, will update my blog with excerpts from my emails home), and many loves and interests and good work to do. I’m excited to finally see and understand down to my bones that the pilgrimage truly doesn’t end. Only the venue changes.

Think of me in your prayers, and I will do the same. Until next time.

Buen camino, y’all.