One month ago my life looked so very different! I was living in sunny California, in denial that my life was about to completely change. I mean absolutely and completely. I could not even begin to fathom all that would entail.
On Friday August 22nd, we received my husband’s visa to enter the United Kingdom…I got online that morning and searched and prayed and bought us tickets to fly the following Monday, just three days later. We had known it was coming, but suddenly we had merely days to accomplish ending our life in America. To empty our apartment of everything; furniture, toys, clothes…memories. I was numb. It just had to be done. There was no time to think, or reminisce, or mourn.
On the Saturday, amazing friends pulled together a going away party for all our well-wishers to come and say goodbyes and we stayed up way too late, realizing these were moments never to be repeated. As we sat around at the end of the evening I fought back tears as I imagined all the future events to be hosted at that house, we would not get to be part of. We belonged there.
On Sunday, as so many gathered around us at church, to pray for us and send us off, the tears started. The tears I had been holding back could be held back no more. The truth was that I did not want to leave this place and these people I had grown to love. I could not imagine another life. The truth is goodbyes hurt, especially when you know the next hello is so far away and in reality, a complete unknown. There were more goodbyes later that evening, the gut wrenching type, full of emotion and no words possible to convey what needed to be said. Just tears…too many tears.
The next morning we had to leave. As a nephew sat sobbing on the steps my heart broke even further. It was more than our lives being forever changed.
I felt abruptly and sharply uprooted, naked and vulnerable with my roots hanging…and I didn’t like it, not one little bit. Over the days that followed there were many more tears, not the pretty ones that roll quietly down your cheek, but the ones that stream as you gulp and force yourself to breathe through the pain and your eyes become big and red and swollen. Because you have friends that can’t be replaced, because they belong with experiences that won’t be relived. Because they understand you, and that has taken years and doesn’t just happen overnight. Because trust like that takes time. There is grief.
And as I write, those tears, they come back again.
Yet, the uprooting has led to a transplanting. I am no gardener, but I know that you can start a plant or seed in certain, protected conditions until it is sufficiently established and able to withstand the environment in which it needs to ultimately be. Similarly, plants outgrow their containers and need to be transplanted to remain healthy. If their roots remain bound up they become unhealthy and slow growing. This was our time and even as I look at both of the reasons for transplanting, I can see that my husband was ready for his new 'container' as I had been protected and nurtured long enough to be able to survive such a move. We have a master gardener at work!
So I am comforted through the changes. It hasn’t been easy, but neither has it been as hard as it could have been. Where I once would have tried to deny emotion, I allow myself to go through the process, knowing it is part of the journey and aids in the healing and the moving forward. We have been welcomed and we feel loved by people who were strangers and we have a common bond. I cannot imagine having decided to make such a huge change for our family on a whim, without leading and direction and provision that I know can only come from God. I do not know how anyone could live this life not knowing Him and how utterly meaningless it would all be. So I am grateful. In the midst of the hard things there is hope and wonder for what is to come.
The sun rises each morning, just as it does where we were before. We share it with the people we shared so much with over the last sixteen years. My children still laugh as their daddy tickles them and pout when they don’t get their way. They walk through the changes with us and though they process in their own way, they trust us, as their parents, to do what is right and they feel safe and they feel loved.
So we do the same…