Thursday, January 8, 2015

Saying Good-bye Comes Before Saying Hello

In the wake of this past week, a survival week of packing and crying (momma, are you crying AGAIN, said my son) and just plain old living (because the children must still be fed and clothed, oh yes), there has been little time for sitting still.  But this early morning – on the day we move from East Ross Street – I couldn’t help but do just that.  I needed to write about an image I’ve been carrying around in my mind and heart.  A metaphor for the shifting sands of this time that I’m living right now.  It’s been helping me with the hard work of saying good-bye.  I’ve realized that life, even life in Lancaster again, can never really be the same (we’ve sold our house, for one thing).  It takes courage to live with that realization when the life around you is all that you know.  When that life has been rich and full.  I’m sharing this with you because I know that courage and faithfulness aren't just for big acts and for moving to Kansas City – they are for the daily decisions of life too, big and small.

I’m standing at an ancient door.  It sits between an old, loved, familiar land and a new land.  The door has been closed for many years – so long that the hinges have rusted in place.  My task is to open the door.  I’ve been at this task for several months now.  

It’s not that I haven’t tried before.  In times past, I’ve stood at the door and contemplated trying to open it.  Even attempted it a time or two.  But I wasn’t ready for the task then.  NOW I AM.  (Sometimes I use capital letters to remind myself.)

For months, I have come to the door, put my hands on the rusted handle, and pushed with all my might.  Most of the time, it doesn’t move much, budging just enough to let me know that there is progress.  And because I must do this task, I come back, day after day, and continue the work.

I’m almost finished.  Surprisingly, the pushing at the end has been my hardest work.  The door has never opened this wide before and at times it wants to default to its old, comfortable position.  I go home at night to rest, exhausted by the effort, tearful of the leaving.  Saying good-bye is an important part of the hard work that I am doing.

But this hard work is now giving me glimpses of the land on the other side.  Bright glimpses that excite me and let me know my task is soon done.  The glimpses whisper to me…

  “Don’t give up."

  “Have courage.”   

  “It will be worth the effort.”