Friday, January 15, 2010

Until We Meet Again

I arrived at work this morning with two heavy suitcases and an even heavier heart - it was my last day with the Salt + Light family. You know that feeling you get in the back of your throat when you're so full of emotion, trying to hold back tears? This feeling would haunt me the entire day.

I had only two hours until I had to leave for my airport shuttle bus. The first thing I did when I got to the office was to order a cab to pick me up for 11:00. With that taken care of, I did what I would do on any other morning at the office - I made myself a cup of tea. Sitting back at my desk, sipping my tea, I took in everything. Interrupting my reverie, I saw Father Rosica approaching my desk with papers. I figured it was my internship review and paperwork that was needed for the university.

Sure enough, Father Rosica showed me the review he had completed and began to read aloud a personal letter he had attached to the rubric. The letter was very kind and I was touched by his praise for the things I had contributed to and accomplished while I was there. I thanked him for his letter and offered him one in return, handing him the envelop that contained the letter I had written to him and the office. Thankfully, he took that one back with him - I wasn't sure I could handle him reading it aloud to everyone.

I gathered all the paperwork together and secured it in my booksack. It was 10:00 by now. As I was trying to figure out when I was going to start making my rounds through the office to say goodbye to everyone, I heard the PA system click on. Father Rosica's voice floated through the office asking everyone to gather around the kitchen table. His request followed in French as well.

As everyone made their way to the kitchen, I found a spot towards the back. Of course, Father Rosica turned his attention to me. He thanked me for my time spent with the office and offered his regrets that I would not be staying. He also announced that he had something he wanted to read. I cringed a bit inside - I knew it was my letter, but I was nervous for him to read it aloud to the office. The knot in my throat grew a little bigger.

"To Father Rosica and the Salt + Light Family,

Last spring, I prayed to St. Maximillian Kolbe to offer some guidance in my life, to lead me down a path that would continue my education in the field of journalism, while at the same time developing my faith. The very next day, I heard about Salt + Light Television and the work you were doing in Canada. In some act of divine intervention, the internship was offered and I accepted. Truly, God knew what he was doing when he sent me to your office back in November.

I want to express my deepest gratitude for the experience your organization has offered me. Because of you and all that your company has done for me over the past six weeks, I’m leaving Toronto a bit more independent, educated, and truly inspired.

In a way, you could say I’ve seen the “light”. Your office has such a unique opportunity – an opportunity that I did not believe was available in a career, let alone in the field of journalism. Salt + Light integrates the profession with the faith, a feat not successfully accomplished by many organizations. I want to stress this, because I’m sure this gift can often be forgotten or overlooked. You are all so lucky and fortunate to wake up every morning and go to work in an environment like this. I’m thankful I was able to call this place home, even if it was for a short time.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re affecting the lives of Catholics, and even non-Catholics, every day. I’ve seen the way people respond to your organization when we’re on site – how their faces light up and their smiles convey a silent gratitude for the work you do. I think they, like myself, think of you all as something like superheroes, defending the Faith and saving souls one Catholic Focus at a time.

I wish your company the warmest wishes of luck and pray that further success comes from all of your endeavors. Something tells me that we’ll see much more of one another in the future and I await the day with excitement and hope.

May God bless you and keep you,


P.S – If any one from S+L ends up in Texas, I insist that I be allowed to treat them to a little Tex-Mex while on my turf."

I felt every eye in the room find my blushing face. I could only nod back in recognition. Father Rosica asked me to come forward. As I made my way to the table, he extended a bag and card to me as everyone clapped. The knot in my throat expanded even more.

After the meeting wrapped, I made my way back to my desk and started moving my luggage to the front door. Away from everyone, I opened the bag Father Rosica had given me. Inside were all kind of S+L goodies and, of course, the card. The card had a pair of cowboy boots on the cover, which made me laugh. When I opened the card, the cowboy boots had been replaced with a pair of snow boots and the inscription of "Come back soon!" in the center. The entire card, edge to edge, was covered with messages and goodbyes. As I began to read each message one by one, the knot in the back of my throat grew unbearable and before I knew it, a few tears had escaped. Their simple gesture completely touched me.

The time had finally come to say goodbye. One by one, I walked to each desk, just as I had done on my first day. But today, instead of introducing myself, I was saying goodbye. One of my closer friends I had made there, the friend who had hosted so many fun nights at his apartment, helped me with my luggage to the cab. As I finished loading everything in, I turned to give one final hug and a heartfelt "Thank you". With one last wave, I got into the cab and set off for the bus stop. I let a few tears escape once we were down a block or so. I caught the eye of the cab driver as I wiped them away, and laughed at the cliche-ness of the whole scene.

"Did you have a good trip?"

I sighed and fully embraced the corniness of it all.

"Yeah, the best."

Until we meet again,


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