Over the last three and a half years in DC, I’ve lived what feels like many lives. I’ve been disillusioned and sad. I’ve been hopeful and hungry. I’ve been broken and lost. I’ve been whole and happy. But as I leave this city — hurriedly and unexpectedly, I am deeply grateful. I’ve grown up here, I’ve grown into myself, and I can recognize where I still need to go.
Last night, I was buffeted by friends, drinking to the past and future.Work friends, church friends, old and new friends. I reveled in the meeting of all my people coming together to bid me a fond farewell on a beautiful night. It was bittersweet. After countless lonely hours and noisy parties and cozy dinners, I finally have found this community of people who I love and who love me in return. Wholeheartedly, forgivingly, understandingly. These are not easily replicable relationships. The seed of regret began to take root, raising questions for me: Why go? How could you leave this behind? What will you find ahead of you?
This morning, I shuttled up to Brookland to celebrate the ordination of eleven truly good men. I sat in the Basilica surrounded by the people that are the Church to me here in DC, and again, I was grateful. But beyond our cluster of young Cathedral parishioners celebrating one of our own, there were young families, elderly couples, priests and religious of all kinds, a vast array of backgrounds coming together in the Eucharist because these men are the future of the Church. And we, together, are the Church.
We are called to reflect and refract the glory of God just like the beautiful mosaics and stained glass glowing around us. This is my eternal community. This communion won’t fade away with separation of miles. I am united with all of them forever in the Mass.
So on Thursday, I go back to Madison. I am thankful for social media, Facetime, texting, air travel, phone calls, and all the modern trappings that will keep me connected to those I love across the country. Even so, I know that I will be with them most closely when I kneel before the Blessed Sacrament or receive the Eucharist — united in the Communion of Saints across time and space.
I’ve heard the secret to marriage is choosing the same person over and over every morning. Turns out that’s how you also fall in love with a city, with a community, with a Church. I chose DC (almost) every morning during these last years, and I plan to continue to bloom wherever I am planted. I am so thankful that I get to spend this last weekend as District resident honoring both this community I have found and the community which I can find no matter where I may find myself.