Right now I’m sitting on a park cliff overlooking Puget Sound. There’s a slight breeze, and half of the sky is sunny; the other filled with half huge cumulonimbus clouds speckled with highlights of gray and white. Staring at me are the Olympic Mountains. And normally, on a clear day, I would see them fully. But today, they are half hiding behind a dense curtain of clouds. I smell salt water. I hear seals barking on the beaches down below. Preening stay-at-home dads are walking by with their babies strapped proudly to their chests. A boy and his dad are practicing their Dempsey moves. The attire of each person here proclaims their love of hiking, nature and going on adventures.
This is Seattle. And I’m going to miss it – a lot. Sometimes I sit and just think of all the things I’m going to miss about home after I move. It sounds depressing, but I have a good reason for doing so.
I want to make sure I now appreciate what I won’t be able to appreciate once I leave. I want to make a list, and check off every special part of my city, knowing that I’ve enjoyed it fully. I want to savor everything. I want to imprint every favorite view, every spot I’m in love with, in my mind. I want to remember the smell of salt water and rain. I don’t ever want to forget home.
I’ve moved away from Seattle before, and I remember the feeling of displacement. How it feels to know you fit somewhere, but that you’re somewhere else instead.
But knowing that I’m going to miss my home city doesn’t make me sad, or prevent me from loving it in the moment. Rather, it makes me relish it. I don’t want to think for one moment, when I’m in France, that I wasted my last few months in Seattle. Because the weird reality is, I don’t know when I’ll have more. One year? Two? Five? Who knows?
Today I was thinking about the past year. It’s crazy how much can change in such a short time. Primarily that my AppleCare on my MacBook just expired, but other things too. We never know where we’ll be a year from now. I would never in a million years have guessed I would be moving to France. I know people always say, “ If you had told me, I would have told you that you were crazy.” But I literally would have.
France wasn’t in the books. There were no plans for it. But now, looking around, it’s incredible how much I seem to have been “preparing” for it for years without knowing. Now, here I am: getting rid of half my belongings and begging my mom to take care of, and love, my goldfish. Change is uncomfortable and inevitable, and I generally don’t like it. But, for one of the few times in my life, this change feels right.
I think it would be natural to step back from this opportunity. It’s intimidating. It feels like a rock wall blocking the path to the next chapter of my life. But, no matter how much I stare at it, it’s not going to dissolve. I know I have to climb it.
My job right now is to make sure I’m prepared, to equip myself and then grab on. Because ultimately, when I get to that end point, everything I’m learning now will enrich and enhance what I’m about to do – I just happen to still be in that stage of equipping.
Sometimes this place is scary, and awkward and frustrating. It’s taken me weeks to fill out paperwork for schooling and my visa etc. And it’s exhausting to not know what to prepare for on the other side. No matter how much work I put in now, how many French lessons, how much money I save, how many ideas I have and packing plans I make, I have no idea if it will be enough. The reality is that it could NOT be.
Regardless, I know the hard work is worth it. Something amazing is waiting for me on the horizon. Maybe it will be everything I ever hoped for – maybe it will be something I never knew I wanted. But, right now, it’s not my job to worry or freak out. My only task is to reach out and grab ahold of it.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11