Thursday, June 30, 2016

The long goodbye

So, here we are.


A year ago, Ben and I started kicking around the idea of moving east of the mountains while at the same time being certain we would abandon that idea as soon as the leaves turned. But we didn't. We kept talking about it. And wondering. And dreaming.

When winter arrived we agreed it was time to drag ourselves out of the land of indecision and either turn right or left, east or west. Which would it be? Stay, and enjoy all of the comfort and security of that familiarity and routine. Or, go, and take a leap toward something that is both familiar and yet also utterly new.

We chose to go. Even now I can't completely explain why except that's what we were both feeling in our gut. We aren't people who feel called to change, or adventure, or upheaval very often (or never), so it felt like there had to be a reason that two committed homebodies who always thought they'd live in the same house, on the same street, in the same neighborhood, in the same city for the entirety of their lives together, suddenly both had a yearning to pick up and leave. We felt like God was throwing pebbles at us trying to get our attention and if we didn't sit up and listen he'd start throwing bricks soon.

The verse I kept hearing in my head was, "You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north." -Deuteronomy 2:3 (Except I was hearing east. God is allowed to tinker with scripture when he's the one talking. It's his book after all.)

But that was over 6 months ago. Summer seemed ages away and life has changed in so many big and small ways since then. Now it's here. That elusive, far-off "summer" thing we talked about. And even at that we still aren't moving quite yet. It's here, but not.

So now this is turning into the summer of the long goodbye. And I cannot begin to tell you how much I hate goodbyes. There are few things I do worse or like less. And I think it's all the looming goodbyes that have lodged this sailor's knot of fear, excitement, regret and anticipation permanently into the center of my chest. More than the stress of actually packing boxes and moving (though that is no small stress point), it's the 3am moments of, WHAT HAVE WE DONE, that are are prompting my google searches on "How to relieve anxiety naturally". (I keep hoping the answer is cookie dough, but so far webmd is letting me down).

Ben asked me the other night if I was having second thoughts? And I knew immediately the answer was no. I'm not having second thoughts, I'm just nervous. And scared. And also excited and happy. And sometimes full level JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL freaking out. But at this point I'm doing a pretty great job of bottling it all up and shoving a cork in the top, so don't be scared to run into me. I'm cool as a cucumber. (But God knows how long that cork can hold).

And on top of all this, one of the top three people I would have normally hashed all of this out with is gone. And I never even got a chance to tell her about any of it.

Regrets, I have a few... (Thanks, Frank).

But I really do believe we go with her blessing and love, and even more importantly we go with God's. The other night I shared a verse with my daughter. It was one of those stumble-on-felt-meant-for-me moments and I knew it was meant for her as well. Believe me when I say I do not forget for one moment how much is changing for her, too. Uprooting my child and putting her in a brand new school where she knows no one but her cousins is a whole other sailor's knot of anxiety and concern that likes to wake me in the wee hours of the night.

We happened to be lying on my bed hanging out, watching tv, when this verse was given to me. I immediately turned to Annie and shared it with her.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. ~ Deuteronomy 31:8 

(Who would have guessed Deuteronomy would end up being the theme song to our move? Not usually my go-to... But that God...he likes to throw curve balls.)

Anywhooo... Annie and I agreed right there that would be our guiding verse for the move.

Overwhelmed by the thought of packing and unpacking? The Lord himself goes before you...

Scared to walk into a new school and make new friends? The Lord himself goes before you...

Unsure about what our lives and routine will look like now? The Lord himself goes before you...

Something about picturing the Lord himself leading the way into this unknown future is infinitely comforting.

Could someone please remind me of this at 3am?

Seriously, text me.

The Lord himself goes before you....