During the last week I have been experiencing a constant low-grade anxiety. The last two nights it has intensified to the point where it’s hard to sleep. We are entering what I hate to call transition mode.
In January Andy will be finishing seminary and we’ll be moving to Wheaton, IL for him to do a one-year pastoral internship. This is all very exciting. We’ll be much closer to my family, I will get to experience seasons, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for Andy. #winning
But my mind is buzzing with worries about moving, about getting all of our stuff across the country (I’ve never had to move so much stuff before), about making the most of our last few months here, about spending enough time with the people we love, about leaving my cabin sweet cabin, about our trip out there. Throw in the fact that we are traveling internationally for Thanksgiving and to Minnesota for Christmas and the biggest event of my work year is happening in there somewhere, and I’m getting antsy.
My mind is occupied in fretting about logistics, but I’ve learned that logistics are not the real issue. We’ll figure out how to move our stuff. The worries about logistics mask the deeper sadnesses swirling beneath the surface: I’m leaving an entire life.
I know that some of you crazies out there thrive on change, but I am so definitely not one of those people. I love routines, and constancy, and predictability, and schedules. How I adore schedules. I have lived in Southern California for the past five years, which is the longest I’ve lived anywhere since my childhood home. I’ve made amazing, incredible friends. I know my way around. We're close to a lot of Andy's family. We have a predictable and highly enjoyable routine. It’s a wonderful life.
And now we are going to leave, and we’ll have to try and build a wonderful life somewhere else. I know that it’s possible, because I’ve done it before. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. And I know that I will stay in contact with many of my friends, but it isn’t the same when you are no longer in the same place. So I will be starting back at square one, slowly building friendships, learning my way around, finding a new dentist. For me it takes a lot of time and energy. My roots grow slowly, but they grow deep. And they always go into shock when I try and transplant them to somewhere else. I am very delicate plant.
I am trying to be gentle with myself. Instead of masking my grief with logistics concerns I am trying to deal with the grief and let myself actually feel it. I’m a little worried that I will spend the next three months crying, but that might be preferable to not sleeping.
When that gets too tough, I will just go back to my favorite and best life strategy which is denial. I’ve already thought several times that it’s the waiting period that kills me; I would rather pack my bags and abscond in the night; ghost out of my own life. It seems so much easier to just leap right over the process of saying goodbye and head for the hills.
But Mary taught me recently not to skip to the end. Yes, I will be okay, and yes, I will learn to enjoy life in a new place. Right now, however, I am dealing with the consequences of these past five years being so great. If they had been terrible, I would be wanting to shake the dust from my feet. This is only hard because it has been so good, and I need to honor that goodness with the pain that comes with letting it go.