Let Us Cross Over

In about 10 hours, I am leaving for Ukraine. I should probably sleep sometime between now and then. And finish packing. (No, I’m still not done.)

A few days ago, I looked up this phrase online, “now let us cross over”, thinking it was part of an old hymn or Scripture or something. I thought it might be a nice mantra to keep in mind for my trip, since I’m crossing over the ocean. What I found was not what I expected. What I found were the last words of Stonewall Jackson. After he realized the war was over, he spoke these words: “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”

Those words seemed to me when I read them, a welcome into a place of peace, a safe haven, that state of mind when all the tension is gone from your body…like after a really good massage when you are so relaxed and loopy you almost seem drunk.

It made me think of summer, cool breezes, bird song, and wind through leaves. Lazy afternoons, sweet tea, and teenage dreams.

It gave me visions of paradise. A place without war. A place of rest. As if a whiff of memory still lingers on those words and I could smell it.

And then I read that Stonewall Jackson was shot and eventually killed by friendly fire just after speaking those words. Cheery thought, that… “Let us cross over” indeed.

As the time for my departure charges toward me like a raging bull, I feel strangely calm. Except for that time I thought I didn’t have proof of insurance. Then I felt like I was in a red outfit trapped with an angry bull. Other than that I’ve been fine. And I did find my insurance card, in case anyone was wondering.

I feel like I am going home.

But I also feel this is only the beginning, like walking through a doorway.

As though this is only a shadow of what is to come.

Tunnel of Love, Ukraine

Dedicated to my dad, Robert Sherman.