Where my heart is

I've been counting, and realise that I can greet someone - formally or with familiarity, or using words of welcome - in eleven languages, nine of them European. However, I can say goodbye in only six European languages, plus one other. That's a good imbalance to have. Mostly too, goodbye is a variation on 'until we next see each other': there's no finality to arrivederci or au revoir - that's reserved for the less used addio or adieu, age-old commendations of someone to God.

Home is where your heart is, and while mine is here in the UK, it is also, simultaneously, in Italy, and in other places, where my family and my sisters live. And it always will be there, even while it is here. But more fundamentally, it is in the Heart of Jesus, which is universal: certainly vaster and wider than just one small island, physically - and now politically - on the edge of a continental landmass. A Heart which is always open, welcoming, expanding; a spacious Heart filled - but never too full - with diverse multitudes; a Heart, as Julian of Norwich saw, big enough for everyone to rest.

And so, as the UK leaves the EU, casting itself adrift, I say arrivederci. I say it with profound sadness, and a dull ache in my heart. I know I'm not the only one, and am also aware that, after all the drama and shouting, this has been a strangely muted week. Even so, I'm sure that scenes of Brexit party supporters gloating and cheering might be the ones beamed across European TV networks - my apologies in advance to those watching from the continent. These people do not represent the best of us, or even, really, the most of us. So it's arrivederci, au revoir, auf wiedersehen, hasta la proxima... with the hope and the promise that one day, God willing still in my lifetime, we will come back, and be welcomed back... and I can still deploy all my hellos.