|Out of the sky she fell to the earth.|
It's a terminal diagnosis, knowing I'm leaving the world and I have to say a final goodbye to everyone I love. I did my share of "living like I was dying" this semester. There's no doubt as I crossed from Paris to Spain, and from Krakow to Rome somewhere between Amsterdam and Brussels I lived with a passion de vivre unlike most. A result of my early prognosis, even before I arrived, and my willingness to make the last four months of my life here count for something more than merely just studying abroad. I lived lifetimes this semester, more than many of this world are ever given a chance, and I'm deeply grateful for it, and humbled by it. Most of all I think it's helped me accept the inevitable, this, the final moment of this life.
I feel a bit like Hucklberry Finn watching my own funeral, watching friends re-affirm the obvious, that they knew from the beginning of our friendship, the brevity of it, and that my demise was doomed from the start. Indeed, perhaps initially that was their reluctance in becoming attached, yet it's clear by my departure, I too have sucked them into this madness, this exodus from their world merely by the hope I've clung to with a naive faith.
A faith that most followers of God profess but rarely display, and for a me, a self-professed atheist who fell from faith over a decade ago, must seem startling, shocking, and confusing. Indeed I am confused, and given this predicament it's no surprise that in my visit to the thirty or so odd cathedrals, and churches across Europe I would turn to prayer.
One must wonder exactly how painful this departure is in order for me to turn to silent internal whispers of despair. This is where God lives: in the tearful desperation of humanities's screams, in our hopes and dreams.
At first I felt silly, but considering I'm an avid meditater, and how it's quite similar, I made my attempts genuine, heart-felt, and reluctantly tearful at times.
I prayed in Notre Dame, Saint Nicolas, Our Lady, and dozens of churches across Europe. I walked 118 kilometers across Spain on pilgrimage and dropped in the pews of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and prayed. I went to mass, and sung with hundreds of other pilgrims I went to church at The Well (Nativitas), a four person mini-church in Brussels, and I prayed. I prayed asking, I prayed till tears came to my eyes, till I hurt and fell asleep, exhausted at it all, staring out at the 3 AM skyline of Brussels from my bed.
Yet as I called out, there came no answer, only silence. The opportunity for confirmation, reassurance, for anything from this deity that others can hear, but I can't, never came. Just emptiness, and darkness. Now my two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu is at an end. That darkness awaits for me as I say my goodbyes in these last few days. Farewells to friends who as of next week will become the people I once knew, and flashbacks of time gone-by, just before I take the shadow's hand and walk off into the darkness.
I'm not sure what's out there, among the stars, among that which I can't see, what comes next, but I know what was for a time, here, was real, and was so very special, and beautiful. I'm no longer clinging to hope; I've finally accepted leaving. It's time to go. It's time to go between that where I am, and where I'm going. I've been running for four months, but the race is over. So I'm just going to walk now, walk over to the edge of this universe, put my arms out, close my eyes, and lean back till I begin to fall. I'll smile in my descent, thinking of you: the people I loved, and the moments we shared. Where ever I land next, I'll miss the Hell out all of you, with all my heart, and all my being. That's something you can have faith in.
Now I'll leave, just as I arrived, falling out of the sky, breaking apart in the atmosphere just to say goodbye.