Saying Goodbye

Looking over the Tuscan Hills, I breathed in the majesty of the view. It was my last day in Italy and the sun leisurely set in the sky. I didn’t want to leave. I pondered how I could stay, if just for a while longer.

Italian living…so simple…peaceful…

I yearned to bring it home—the only souvenir I truly wanted—to sustain this way of living and transport it back to Colorado. How could I greet each moment, each day, like this… in rest? A deliberate and unhurried way of being. The hustle of my life awaited back home.    How do I pack this into the aircraft and disembark carrying new perspective?

I took a deep breath and turned to face the outdoor dining table where twenty four  incredible people awaited to share our farewell dinner.

I snapped a selfie of me and Papa Joe.

Before I returned to my seat, Brian reached out and caught my wrist. I knelt between him and his wife.

“God brought us all together. He’s doing something in each of us, behind the scenes. Something bigger than we can imagine.”

A tear rolled down my cheek as I looked at my new family. Each one from diverse walks of life….different levels of faith…varied experience and wisdom.

“Don’t cry,” someone said from across the table.

But that’s why I’m here. To FEEL again. I let unashamed tears roll down my face and plop onto my chest, resting close to my heart.

The wine flowed, our chef brought the first course and a toast was proposed. We held our glasses in the air.

“To Joey who made this all possible. To new friends and old. To memories that will reside a lifetime…May God bless each one of you, on your journey home and your journey through life.”


The clinging of wine glasses filled the air.

Turning, I kissed David.

And I said goodbye. Not just to Italy, but to my old way of living. The sky darkened, but I could see clearly. I could take simplicity home, I just needed to be intentional despite the pulling of the world.

Looking up as the stars made their appearance, I made a list of “I wills” in my mind:

I will slow down and not allow time to be my competitor.

I will get up from my desk, turn my back on my work, and dance with my husband when he asks me to dance.

I will guard my faith and not let it flounder.

I will believe more and doubt less.

I will share my feelings and not press them down.

I will embrace the unknown with excitement.

I will unwrap each day unafraid and with anticipation.

I will live in a space of contentment.

I will not only see and touch each moment, but FEEL them.

I will raise my glass and salute to whatever God gives…and takes away.


I said ciao to the complicated and embraced the simple.

I was no longer sad to say goodbye. Besides, isn’t an ending really just a beginning? I whispered, “Arrivederci,” to my old way of living.

I stepped onto a new peaceful path and left forever changed.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27.


  1. Jennifer Waddle on June 14, 2016 at 11:05 am


    • Dawna Hetzler on June 17, 2016 at 9:27 am

      Thanks Jennifer!