4 years, 11 months, and 17 days ago I wrote, “I can already tell I will easily fall in love with this place, and that I am at peace.”
I’m sitting in the middle of suitcases and last-minute things waiting to be packed away that are sadly still strewn on the floor. And I cannot surrender my eyes to sleep until I find my way, in words.
March 23rd would mark five years of loving NOE, but in just a matter of hours I will be navigating the night with five suitcases and I’ll be leaving behind a trail of tears.
I feel like I started the grieving process a couple months ago, but at the same time, it felt like today would never get here.
I lived in the state of denial for days and I ignored the fact that goodbyes would come in rushing like a sudden tide and try to sweep me off my feet.
I didn’t want to feel too much, but I didn’t want to be overtaken at the last minute, either.
But. I’m here on the other side.
I’ve had my share of goodbyes and surprises; my heart is overwhelmed.
I knew God was up to something when He placed that book in my hands. I knew He was up to something, when my nervousness that first night in my pink room was replaced by an all-consuming peace. I knew He was up to something when my idea of perfection became pale in comparison to what He had in mind.
I knew all of this, but I never would have imagined what it would mean.
I never would have imagined that I would settle into a family of two sisters and a brother and feel at home in the unfamiliar. I never would have imagined the incredible tug on my heart that would cause me to love on my students as long, as I could. I never would have pictured holding a pair of house keys and the innumerable times I threw them out my window.
I came for three months.
I stayed for five years.
That is what happens when God shows up.
I thought I was out of my mind, but He knew that I wasn’t.
I thought I was a hopeless cause when it came to making simple conversations, but He saw something different.
I thought a few months served as a good distraction, but He said that a few years were worthy to be deemed a calling.
I thought that I would never be able to fully share my faith, but He gave me the courage to find my voice.
I thought I would never make it off the plane, but He gave me the courage to stay.
Your letters are stowed away in my carry-on, because I don’t want to let our memories out of sight. Your words these past few days are embedded upon my heart, forever.
You are staying and I am leaving, but let me be honest and tell you, that I will never fully leave.
I will never fully leave, because with you God has given me the best years, a full heart, children, families, and a love.
There are no words to tell you the pain that comes with this goodbye.
There are no words to tell you the impact that you have had upon my life.
I’ll spend days grieving your absence, but all the while I will still be grateful that God graced me with five years.
My words won’t end here, but daylight is coming soon…and with it means the last of goodbyes.