Stephen and I crossed paths through my work at Whitworth University. He recently reminded me that we first met at an Anti-Columbus Day event, though I had forgotten about that meeting. Mostly, we have shared some common experiences from our respective travels to Guatemala, but we have also had some in-depth theological and philosophical discussions where we explored that uncomfortable space between faith and disbelief, rationalism and spirituality. In a culture polarized by ideological extremes, I am grateful to share the journey with a friend who can hold all the contradictions of life with courageous non-judgment.
Now Stephen is leaving for a year to work in Colombia. These photographs were taken a few minutes before parting ways. I'm sad to see him go, but in our language, we never say goodbye. Instead, we always tell one another, "See you later." As we each choose different paths in life, nothing is lost. We carry the wisdom and the connection forever.
A few months ago, Stephen's t-shirt sparked a conversation that lasted several hours. His shirt depicts Monseñor Oscar Romero, the Catholic archbishop from El Salvador who was assassinated for denouncing the murder of his people.
The back of the shirt reads:
"Resucitaré en mi pueblo."
"Que mi sangre sea semilla de libertad...
Mi muerte sea por la liberación de mi pueblo
y como un testimonio de esperanza
en el futuro" (Marzo de 1980).
"I will be resurrected in my people."
"May my blood be the seed of liberty...
May my death be for the liberation of my people
and as a testimony of hope
in the future" (March of 1980).