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Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Process

Perhaps it was a combination of late nights, gloomy weather, and a final meal with dear friends who were leaving, yet another page in the scrapbook of life. She wasn't sure. Yet when she locked the door after the little ones had left Cradle Roll for the morning, she found herself walking towards the church hall instead of her car. Usually she headed straight home and took a nap. Today was different. Perhaps she would find a friend to sit with, so she went.

She stood in the doorway, scanning the room. Several people stopped to greet her, exchange hugs, chat for a minute or two. The song leaders were singing, she joined in every now and then, as a feeling of nostalgia began to grow. This was unusual; she often came and left feeling empty, disconnected, and alone.

The grieving process was beginning. So this is what it feels like to leave, she thought. She had no clear direction yet, she was still searching for the pathway her Father wanted her to take, but she knew it would come soon. So many times over the past 17 years she'd wanted to leave, prayed to leave, hoped to leave, but leavings were always tempered by a return, the longest being 10 weeks. It was strange to live in a single community, a single country, a single continent for this long. Nearly half her life now had been spent anchored to the unfamiliar which somehow had never become home. She'd tried, oh how she'd tried, and the average American would say she'd succeeded in integrating, but she'd always known she was different. The heart of an African child beat inside her, the emotions of a Seychellois grandmother had become hers, the hospitality of a Middle Eastern heritage she claimed, the independence of a German grandmother was a definite part of her.

She finally turned and left. She recognized the desire to stay was that feeling she got when she was about to take off on another trip, whether across the state or across an ocean. It was a feeling of longing to stay. It came invariably as she packed her toothbrush and phone charger, double-checked her travel documents, and turned off the lights. When the feeling came, she knew it was time to go. She was ready.

The sadness blanketed her heart, wrapping close and pulling her in. The ghosts of yesterdays came out en masse, all the ones who had left in one way or another. For a few moments, the anger and the weariness dropped its veil and she saw the beauty of treasured memories created over a lifetime. For that was what it was. Each country birthed its own lifetime and as she left each one, she carefully placed it in its own cotton-soft-lined drawer in her heart and slid it shut.

It was time to go. The people now were not of the tribe of Joseph and life had changed from anticipation to existence. She knew it was not right and to thrive she would have to once again, hold change close and allow its sharp pain to change her. Perhaps this time she would breathe in deep and the senses would reassure her that she was home.

She was ready.

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