As I sit in my office with the door shut, shaking (probably from the 36 oz of iced latte, but possibly from the fear of life moving forward) I did what I do every morning when I get to work. I go through my news feed. I check through emails, I read about the happenings from the day before, I search for news worthy of posting to social media, because that’s my job. Not so frequently, I will also read a few blogs. I did so this morning.
A few months ago, I stumbled upon Hannah Brencher. She’s the creator of moreloveletters.com and if you’re not familiar with her or her writing or her TED talk, you should be. She is my soul. Recently, Hannah moved to Atlanta. I can’t help but think this makes her even more part my friend- even though we’ve had one correspondence in our lives, because ATL was for a short time, my own home. It was my place. Where Souper Jenny’s fed me and CASIE educated me and 12 Stone Church poured into my heart. Atlanta is special and I hope it becomes a safe place for love and growth for Hannah too.
So, this morning, I opened up my WordPress, and I read her recent blogpost, this was never a hopeless place. She spoke about her time leaving, saying goodbye to her friends before her move to Hotlanta. This, of course, made me cry. After all, I’m preparing for a journey over 4,000 miles away from where I sit right now in just a few short weeks. I look back at the last two years of my life pondering what would have happened had I gone to Rennes, had I gone to Bath instead, who I wouldn’t know today, who I wouldn’t love today- where my life and where my heart would be.
This was a preparation by God.
I sit in Cedar Falls humbled, knowing I am being prepared for 4,000 miles. I’m being prepared for the goodbye. I’m being prepared for the hardest year of my life.
Last weekend I had my goodbye party. Like Hannah, I don’t like goodbyes. That’s why I had the party a month before I actually leave. So I can make excuses and blame lack of timing for not saying real goodbyes. Not to mention I fear others not making the time to say farewell either. It happens too often. I love people more than they love me. Don’t pity me for that last sentence, it’s just true. I love people so much. I have like 100 best friends. My real best friend, of course, but then my best friend from growing up, my best friend from the west coast, my best friend from Greece, etc. etc. I get made fun of for it. All. The. Time. But to be honest, I’m scared, because never have I been filled with so much love and hope for myself and the world around me.
In the last two years I met my CASIE family in Atlanta, I met my Central family in Pella, I met my new PLC family in Cedar Falls and I will continue to take them with me where I go. I have the unique capability to love people from a great distance. I’m a freak of nature when it comes to this- perhaps it’s because I love travel too much and feel that long-distance is necessary, but I truly believe that closeness has nothing to do with distance. If you’re part of my life and you value my friendship, I will carry you with me. I will carry you through my life. I will love you through life. I may not verbalize it, I may not show it often- but my words to you will be there. My heart for you will not waiver. Show up for me and I’ll show up for you. The people I surround myself with are my heart. They are the glue, the sanity, the rib cage protecting me.
Last weekend I got two extremely special cards, from two friends I love dearly. Both praised me for conquering my dreams and chasing what I love in life. I have to say to the two of you- and to the rest of my friends and family, any of you I’ve ever had a long conversation with, a coffee or a beer with, any of you who I’ve shared a cab with home or lived with…you are the reason I can go after what I want. You are the reason I’m moving to London. Every day you inspire me. I sit and listen to you speak, I hear about your hopes and dreams and you give me courage and motivation to never settle. I read your blogs, I listen to your voice mails, I watch your videos, I laugh at your silly posts, I cheer you on because you’ve shown up in big and little ways that will make all the difference.
I am terrified. I’ve never wanted to flee from something so badly in my life. But you, you my special friend, are my reason. The reason I press on. You look at me with hope-filled eyes, proud. You hug me tight and say, “watch me do it too.” You are the reason I don’t run the other way.
Thank you, for showing up. It’s all I ask in the continuity of life. That when I show you love, you hold it and protect it, and give it back to the world. Nothing could make me more proud. You are my reason.
“I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart. I am never without it anywhere I go, you go my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling. I fear no fate, for you are my fate, my sweet. I want no world, for beautiful, you are my world, my true and it’s you whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you. Here is the deepest secret nobody knows, here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or the mind can hide and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart. I carry your heart. I carry it in my heart.” -EE Cummings