Standing at the rear of her car, by a bustling airport curb, we hugged tightly, silently. I’m terrible at saying goodbye. All the words bubble up in my chest, but get stuck in my throat. And really, there aren’t enough words. Stepping back, I reluctantly pulled my suitcase out of the trunk, flung my bag over my shoulder. Without making eye contact again, I turned toward the sidewalk and slowly walked away, breathing deeply with each step. Inside the airport, I paused for a moment to get my bearings, and then headed for the security line, fighting the lump that was forming in my throat and the tears that were pooling in my eyes.
My phone vibrated in my hand as I joined the line. I looked down. And saw the text: “You are not going back the same way you came…” The lump rose and the tears began to fall… and I heard His voice:
“This is not the last time you’ll be here…you will be back.”
I’m not a crier. From the time I stepped into the security line until about halfway to Atlanta, I bawled my eyes out. I was exhausted in every sense—physically, mentally, emotionally—from the past five days. I’d been fully present at Splendid, and suddenly I was alone with my thoughts. My perception of myself, of God, of the women He’d planted in my life through the internet had shifted in ways I couldn’t begin to comprehend. And so, I cried, and cried, and cried. (That poor man who had to sit beside me for two hours…)
I don’t fly. Get on an airplane? 30,000 feet in the air? I don’t think so. And yet—I did. Twice in six days. And it was NO BIG DEAL. Piece of cake, actually. (Although—I’m already convinced that ATL will always be a form of hell on earth.) All that anxiety that made my heart flutter and my stomach drop for the six months leading up to Splendid? Gone—once I was sitting on the plane. Verdict? I don’t hate flying—I actually kind of love it. Who knew?
I don’t talk on the phone. Having spent five days extroverting almost 24/7, talking eyeball-to-eyeball, and being in the constant presence of people, I came home to an apartment that was too quiet. Almost immediately, I was scheduling phone calls and video conferences with friends from #the4500 and face-to-face meetings with local friends. Adjusting to normal life was hard.
The week and a half since Splendid has been crazy. Seriously. God dumped so much in my lap while I was in Texas that I honestly thought He’d let up a little once I got home. I was wrong. The things I heard people say in Texas were repeated by my friends and family at home. My co-teacher Christine was asking the same hard questions Anna, and Megan, and Taylor, and Kelli had asked me all weekend.
And while I left Splendid with some hints, but not full knowledge of what I was supposed to do, where I was supposed to go, and what I was supposed to be, I didn’t actually know until last week. Tuesday, to be exact.
Christine preached me a sermon all day Monday and most of Tuesday, which basically boiled down to this:
“If you’re really going to do this, now is the time. If God is telling you this is what you need to do, are you just giving lip service to it—or are you actually going to act on it? If you wait for the circumstances to be perfect, you won’t do it…you will over think it.”
And just like my Splendid sisters did, my dear friend Christine shot down every. single. excuse I threw at her.
So I made the decision to do what I’ve been too afraid to admit that I’m supposed to do in this season.
I decided that I was going to follow God’s lead, to let Him take the reins.
I jumped off the cliff.
My life is so boring.
Nothing exciting ever happens to me.
Adventure? Not for me.
I can’t even think these thoughts without chuckling to myself these days.
We sat in our darkened, quiet classroom at the end of the school day. Her questions and statements cut to the core of me.
“What is happening to my life?” I asked, incredulous.
“You’re getting a life….you’re living your life,” she answered.
I never wanted to go to Texas. Texas was always at the bottom of my “places I want to visit” list. God is funny.
In less than a month, I’ll be back in Texas.
Through the summer, at the very least.
Pursuing my passions, old and new.
Looking for a job.
Exploring graduate school options.
In less than a month, I have a million things to do—some that I have a plan to accomplish, some that I am freaking out about because I don’t have a plan to accomplish—and no foreseeable solutions.
In no particular order:
*Pack up my apartment and move it into storage
*Sell my car
*Decide what I absolutely have to take or ship to Texas for 3-6 months.
*Pick a departure date
*Find an affordable flight
*Update my resume
*FIND A JOB in TEXAS
*FIND A CAR in TEXAS (and the funds with which to buy said car)
*Ask for help in doing the things I cannot do on my own (this might prove to be the hardest one!)
*Stay calm, not freak out, and just breathe…
So, this must be what free-falling feels like.
I am not going back the same way I came.