This afternoon our Cristina left for the mission of Mongoumba, in the Republic of Central Africa (CAR) where she will join the current local CLM community made up of María Augusta from Portugal, Anna from Poland and Simone from Italy.
As it was expected, it was a time of strong emotions, where we experienced a mixture of bureaucratic concerns such luggage overweight and the natural interior turmoils caused by the parting from family and friends for a long period of time, two years in this case.
Looking at Cristina say her good-byes and reaching the escalator that would cut our contact with her, I clearly felt that our mutual visual contacts were being stretched and almost hugged, as if to stay connected one more instant, but the escalator moved up and Cristina was gone.
On the way home I was still impacted by that scene, as if I had not had other occasions to witness departures that were just as emotional, and I was thinking of what type of strength was at the top of that escalator that could draw Cristina more strongly than our desire to be together just a little longer.
Looking into my own self, I believe that the answer can only be Jesus.
Jesus is the one who interiorly calls us to leave everything and follow him wherever he wants.
Jesus is the one who always wants to give the Good News especially to the poor and, by doing it through us, challenges us and involves us in an ever deeper encounter with Himself.
This decision to leave may seem to be selfish to some. But it is not.
This decision comes from a listening attitude bringing out an imperative of conscience that makes us do what we must do.
He is the one who calls us!
The pain of separation from family and friends proves that we are not dealing with a selfish decision, but rather with an altruistic one, greater than us.
And for those of us who are left behind, notwithstanding our sense of loss, we are happy because we see our loved ones live life to the full… replenished with meaning.
We will fully be part of this mission by our prayers, by the longing and the support we will give to the decision, even if at times we will not understand it.
I am grateful from the bottom of my heart for the witness of Cristina and her family, and for all the CLM and families who go through the airport, thus showing by their lives that the Spirit keeps on blowing where it wishes and impacting our small lives so busy in the daily grind.
A strong hug to all.
Until we meet again, Cristina!
CLM Pedro Moreira