Here I am… sitting in my plane somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean… trying super hard not to freak out at all the turbulence that is causing my computer to bounce up and down. To be honest, it’s a little entertaining to try to type with a bouncing computer. Laughing at all the silly mistakes I make because I just can’t hold my fingers above the keyboard helps lighten my irrational fear.
Well… a little.
But in all sincerity… I can’t believe I’m actually leaving.
Saying goodbye to my friends was hard.
I so heartily enjoy their company, their laughter, words. Every time I see them, they leave such an impression on my heart and my soul. But, I am incredibly encouraged and hopeful that I’ll be able to maintain those relationships even though I’ll have a few more miles in between us.
However, saying goodbye to my family… my Dad, my sisters (especially my littlest one)… the people I love beyond compare…. was heartbreaking. Literally.
With my other sisters pretty much out of the house, I spend a lot of time helping my Dad care for my littlest one, and I absolutely love doing so. She is my pride and joy and it should be that way, considering all I want to do is get married and have a family of my own (God willing). But because of it, our relationship goes just slightly past “sister/sister” to have a tinge of “mother/daughter” in it, since she doesn’t have another constant motherly figure at the moment.
Leaving that physical relationship behind for my “plan B” of getting a job, was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
Not only have I been a wreck, I know that she is also sad about me leaving and the past week has been all about spending more time with her. She’d go for long periods of time just holding on to me while I talk with someone else or cuddling up next to me once we (a.k.a. me) got tired of playing. Night-time hugs seemed more like indefinite goodbyes and holding a speechless, limp, and tearful child in your arms is something I hope nobody else ever experiences. Although we talked about it, and by the time I left she seemed relatively ok, the idea of leaving her and my family like this is still quite a stake in my heart.
However, I am not leaving for some pretentious reason, or that I gotta “shake the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and see the world”. That’s not me, I could never leave my family behind for that. Logically and practically, I’m doing it in order to get my Masters and continue on to a job that I actually enjoy (assuming that I don’t get married or considering it obviously ain’t happening incredibly soon!). I don’t “have” to go, as I could just bum around my Dad’s house instead, but I really do feel this is something I need to do. Additionally, I ran across the following quote, in the Sunday bulletin at St. Francis de Sales on my last Sunday there, that spoke straight to my soul.
“How can one possibly learn how to love sincerely without crosses and the feeling of abandonment over a long period?” – St. Francis de Sales
While St. Francis de Sales was talking more about spiritual abandonment and crosses, this also is a source of consolation for me in my absence of my family, my friends, the Oratory, and the other places/people which have a special place in my heart. Among many other things, this is my chance (and a chance for those around me) to learn to value these relationships and presence more sincerely.
Have you have ever walked through a room, hallway, or place that you normally and frequently visit, only to feel weird? Like something is wrong… something is missing? It’s sometimes difficult to remember what exactly is missing, but you definitely know something is off. When you finally figure out that (let’s say…) a particular photo frame was missing from the wall; you start to miss it, wonder what it was of, and attempt to visually replace what was lost. BUT, when you walk to the hallway say… the next day and you realize… “Hey! That photo frame is there again!” You begin to notice it more and appreciate it more than ever before because you remember what it felt like not to have it.
Without having these times of absence, only rarely would we be able to truly appreciate the blessings God grants us out of His own mercy, rather than to take them for granted. So, I should take advantage of this blessing in disguise to help me appreciate the many gifts I had before, even if I never realized it.
I’ll also be by myself and be better able to focus better on my own relationship with God. I won’t have anybody tapping me on the shoulder to remind me of something, or the opportunity to learn by being an example, so it simply comes down to my own intention to grow in His Will. It is my only consolation that by the end of next summer, I will hopefully learn this lesson and truly come to a deeper love and appreciation for what I had back in The States.
That and learn how to cook… I should really have a better handle on that by now.
I am already a bit homesick and I am counting down the days until I return for Christmas! However at the same time, I know that I will enjoy being in Scotland and experiencing new, exciting, and very different things!
And now, I officially throw in the towel and say I can’t think anymore, so I should probably also try to catch a few zzzzz’s before we land. I will keep you updated on my adventures!