[A slight departure from the normal mass sharings – a proper blog post for once.]
I was taking an evening walk a few days ago and I looked up to see a beautiful dusk sky filled with vibrant oranges, brilliant whites and darkening blues. It was stunning and made me pause for some time just to stare up at it. I’ve noticed that the sunsets here in Kuching are perhaps the most beautiful I’ve ever seen anywhere and that’s just one of the many things that I’ll miss when I do leave. And that’s what this post is about – bidding farewell and how much like the dusk it actually is.
Several things happen at dusk – the sun starts moving towards the horizon and the light starts to fade. Brilliant colours fill the sky and the blues turn to greys. In the hearts of many too, a sense of completion begins to grow. The day is done, we think, as we start to head home. There’s a sense of an ending, a rounding up where loose ends are tied and one gets to to rest. That’s the feeling I get as I prepare to take my leave of Kuching and Sarawak, the city and the state that I’ve called home for the past two years. Just as the light fading leads to a sense of gloom, so did the farewells that I had to make over the past weeks. The busyness has prevented me from feeling it too much but I do know that it will hit me soon. I’m going to leave and it’s going to feel like I’ve left a part of me behind.
Waning light and the descent into darkness. Gloom and foreboding. I’ve been told that I’ve the penchant for the dramatic (or even over-dramatic) but perhaps it’s not quite so. I’ve said this many times before but I know that I’m not sad because I don’t want to go away. I know that I have to go and that nothing indeed lasts for ever. I know that my life as a religious and on mission means that such partings are inevitable and part of life. But that doesn’t mean that the parting is ever easy. I learn that the more we love and are loved, the deeper our relationship grows with those whom we meet and accompany. And the deeper these bonds are, the greater the proverbial descent into gloom.
If dusk comes and nothing else happens, then the story wouldn’t be too good. However, dusk and night are acceptable because we know that with the passing of midnight comes the hope of dawn once again. Parting is indeed sad and, yes, I will miss Kuching and everyone here very greatly but that’s but part of the story. The dawn will inevitably come and the light will return. We might not know when and where this will happen in our lives but the hope that the dawn will come allows us to move on and not allow the gloom to envelop us. Love spurs us on to continue – after all, it is faith in the Lord that keeps us, hope that moves us and love that allows us to do everything.
I’m very grateful for my time here – for the experiences, the places visited and most of all, for all the people I’ve met. The welcome and acceptance has been unbelievable and I just pray that the Lord will continue to bless this land abundantly as it has been blessed all this time. I make it no secret that I do harbour hopes of returning but as I focus on my mission ahead, that hope will remain, nourished by prayers and tucked away in my heart till the time comes for me to come back. Things will not be the same but the love remains.
T.S. Eliot, in Little Gidding, the fourth of the Four Quartets, says it much better than I ever could:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
And one more, from the rock cello group Apocalyptica. Farewell.