“Bittersweet” is pretty much the only word for this week.
Saying goodbye to coworkers, who had become friends, and leaving the familiarity of the routine of the last several years (3.5 years for me, almost 7 years for Jesse), was sad. In many ways, it didn’t really hit us until Friday. We couldn’t really come up with a better word for Friday than “sad”. Jesse and I tried to celebrate his birthday that night, but we were both too bummed to really celebrate. We tried to remember all the things we are looking forward to now that we won’t have so much of our time tied-up, but I think we really needed to just grieve this loss before moving on to the next step.
The feeling on Friday reminded us of the day we each left for college. I still remember my dad and I pulling into the parking lot of my freshman dorm. I looked up at my dad and just suddenly panicked. I realized that he wouldn’t be there the next day…or any day, and I had to figure this out on my own. The irony of that feeling. You spend your last years of High School just wanting to get out from under your parents, and the second that happens, it’s actually scary (or at least it is for many of us). I remember at the end of that day, I was curled up in my dorm room bed and listening to my new roommate falling asleep near by, and I prayed “Here we go. Life will never be the same, but it will be good. I’m on the right track, and I’ll figure it out.” I was still scared, but I was a little bit excited by the potential of college and adulthood.
Sometimes I wonder, as I wondered back then at 18, what is the alternative? At 18 the alternative was to stay at home with my mom in New Mexico, but why would I do that if I could go to college and get an education? Now, again, the alternative would be to stay. Not just to stay, but to consciously turn down an opportunity that it so obviously a perfect fit for us. Or even more accurately, to reject the entire direction and call on my life for the last decade. Like training for the Olympics, qualifying, and then choosing not to go.
While saying goodbyes are difficult, we’ve also been supported by the people who have come around us and supported us in so many ways. With all the “good-bye”s, we also get so many “hello”s. Saturday morning, we got to meet with someone to talk about the work in Uganda. After the meeting, I actually got tear-y when thinking about all the people (new and old friends) who seem to fit perfectly into this new season of our lives. Many of them, like us, have been on this trajectory for a long time and now our paths are crossing, while others are new to this whole thing and want to support it. All of them are blessings to us and are critical to our ability to keep going down this road despite our occasional fears and difficulties.
This week we’ll focus a lot on the house and preparing it for eventual sale. We’ll clean it out and start getting rid of everything we don’t want to store or move with us. We also have a friend visiting next week and some meetings scheduled. I’m really looking forward to organizing all of our stuff that’s been piling up, and having time to dig into more of the work with Lumi.
– Wisdom in selling the house, and in time management.
– Time with friends, family, new colleagues, and supporters.
– Patience and grace with each other, as we adjust to our new routine and transition into being co-workers AND spouses.