Today I said goodbye to San Francisco sailing under the Bay Bridge in order to see the production of the musical “My Fair Lady” at the San Francisco Playhouse. A small theatre – only two pianos to accompany the singing - a wonderful production, which had me in tears. It was the first musical I ever sang in (high-school production – all-girl cast, but the Eliza in me sang her heart out), and each and every tune replayed the sensibility of an age in which I was awakening to life, dreams and possibilities.
What is it about tears that they can express both that which makes and breaks the human heart? Tears have welled up inside me a lot in this past week, as I attempt to say farewell to people and places which have been my home for this year…and it is only a year, right? Time is a strange beast! Augustine was right about us knowing what it is until we are asked about it. Nothing to do with past and future; everything to do with what fills our every present moment. And this year has been dense and intense with ‘moments’, and feelings, and encounters… I never knew when signing up for the adventure of missionary life, at the tender age of seventeen, that one of the hardest things Jesus would continually ask of me would be to love deeply and yet let go so often - and this year feels particularly deep, in both loving and losing. To paraphrase another ‘classic’: sorry is not the hardest word – the hardest, by far, is goodbye. (Future title of a song!)
And yet…one phrase of the musical hit me with unusual strength: “There is nowhere else on earth that I would rather be”, and it echoed as truth. As I cut my heart free from the people it loves, and feel the absence and the gap life’s circumstances (read complex!) provoke, it is his wounded hand I sense guiding my own, and his clear as crystal presence flavours the tears that fill my eyes – salty, like the way love tastes when it’s worth it. So if this is the cost and the price to pay, so be it...Then there is no where else I want to be, but where you placed me, and when you placed me there.
Thank you, Lord.