I’m sitting here doing my first desk duty at the school, girls coming and going and asking me questions I don’t yet have the answers to. This last week has felt like my first day of school in many ways. I get lost in the halls, I feel awkward and self-conscious as I try to make friends, and I have a nervous stomach from the uncertainty of it all. As with any new endeavor, there is always a learning curve. I’ll figure it all out eventually.
Saying goodbye to so many people and the familiarity of a place in which I resided for over 20 years was difficult, but it all happened so quickly that I hardly had a second to really think about it. Everyone has wanted to know how I’m doing since I arrived in Virginia, and I haven’t had the words to share. The truth is that the first week was really tough. After the insanity of wrapping everything up and then moving halfway across the country, I suddenly found myself with hours upon hours to think. And I was overcome by a thousand thoughts that need to be processed. After being “brave” and “strong” for so many weeks so that I could get through all of the goodbyes, I took a deep breath. And I cried. A lot. Which subsequently resulted in a crying headache that hasn’t yet subsided.
But saying that the last week was tough does not mean that it was bad. Not at all. The clean slate in front of me is an unbelievably gorgeous sight, and one that I have needed for a very long time.
And I am determined to grasp that clean slate with gusto and purpose.
Some friends traveled with me to make the move, and we watched the Perseid meteor shower the night before they began their journey back home. At one point we laid down on the back deck, their arms linked through mine, and we stared up at the vast array of stars and clouds, waiting and watching for a meteor to stream across our limited viewing window. We saw a few, and we gasped accordingly. And someone may have mistakenly gasped over an airplane a time or two. But as I listened to my friends chat and laugh and point out another airplane, I was rendered speechless for a moment. I couldn’t remember the last time I had simply gazed at the stars. Why had we never thrown a blanket on the ground and linked arms before? When was the last time I had purposefully soaked in God’s creation and wondered aloud at the meaning of it all? I used to live in awe of the world around me, but life had been chipping away at my sense of wonder until I had almost forgotten how breathtaking a starry sky could be.
I let a few silent tears stream down my cheeks that night, and then I sucked it up and made sure I was present for the last few hours with my friends. I purposed to pray for them, to tell them how much I was going to miss them, and to unleash as many hugs as I could before their departure. But most importantly, I decided then and there that I was going to live life differently.
People here have generally had one of two reactions when they ask me where I’ve come from and what I’m doing: they either tell me that they think I’m really brave, or I’m really crazy. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle, I think — I am bravely crazy? Or crazily brave? Either way, this is my new beginning. I intend to live it to the fullest extent.
So all of the “new” can be daunting — new job, new people, new place — but it is also a grand adventure. I still have a lot of thoughts to process, but I will tackle one at a time while continuing to move forward. And, dear God, please help me to remember to stop and gaze at the stars along the way. I want to be a woman who lives in awe and wonder.