On traveling and grief

As I’m preparing for this trip, I feel like I’m going some through some sort of mourning process.

I have a friend who’s going through the real thing and I recognized my emotion in her eyes last night.

I’ve felt something similar two times before.  They were times that I went away and knew that I would come back changed.

Each time, I had no idea what the change would be or how I even felt about going.  The Fear was attached like a conjoined twin.

Each time, there were moments of imploding intensity.  Each time, I knew that transformation was taking place in my heart.

On the first trip, the hardback cover of my soul barely cracked open.   I spent 10 days away processing some of life  and didn’t even reach the forward, let alone the first chapter of my story.  It would take years before I could fully assimilate all that I learned into my life. They were Truths that are still helping me write a different story today.

The second time I was jammed in a room 30 other women for four days.  Umm, introvert here?  It was honestly my worst nightmare and I thought I might need the pink padded room at one point.

God knew though I needed to be stretched and he knew when I’d reached my breaking point and sent a dear friend from 1,000 miles away to hug me and hang with me for two hours and tell me she’d break me outta that joint with guns blazing in a red-hot minute if I said the word.

She flew in for 24 hours.  For me!!  I get that God loved me enough to send his own son for me, but to send a friend from the east coast to hug me when I thought I might die?  That’s almost too much love!!!   Her encouragement helped me finish the weekend and again, I’m still fusing those Truths into my soul.

I think I’m mourning the parts of myself that have to go for me to step into the next chapter of my life.  I’m not really sure though what I’m letting go of.  Who I was?  Who I thought I was? Who I could have been?  What I missed?  What I didn’t know was wrong in the first place?

“Sometimes it’s hard to tell, what to keep and what to kill, what of this makes us who we are, all that we love the most, all that we cannot let go, how much of change can we survive.”  Sara Groves

I only know that the feelings of loss run deep and rise from nowhere very similar to grief I’ve experienced.

It’s fear wrapped in doubt and surrounded by terror….followed by a dose of guilt that whispers who are you to indulge your emotions on this level.  But the truth is, this is not indulgent.

This is waves of overwhelming nameless anxiety followed by momentary wakes of grace.

It’s head down, one foot in front of the other.

It’s a desperate attempt to accomplish something rather than just run in place.

It’s hold my tongue and take a deep breath.

It’s hug my kids and try to calm their ping pongy emotions.

It’s Deuteronomy 33:25  Your castles and strongholds shall have bars of iron and bronze, and as your day, so shall your strength, your rest and security be.

I hope that I’m walking through these feelings now so I can be fully available to the families that we’re going to serve.  But I’m certain still, that the trip will be filled with intense moments holding growth-opportunities, and that I won’t fully know the impact on my own life for years.

Yesterday was my last day of work before I leave.  Crazy enough (read:God) my day was bookended with two dear women who have walked through the spectrum of emotions and experiences that accompany life with children facing critical physical issues.

Both of these women are resilient and radiate strength.  Both have spent countless days in the hospital and countless hours at bedsides of beautiful children.  Children who through their presence on this earth, have changed lives And heartsAnd homes. Their stories are rooted deep in my own heart and I hope will be reflected into the lives of the women I’ll meet.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.   I Corinthians 13:12

Thank you for the grace to blubber all over this blog today.   I’d appreciate your prayers over the next two weeks!

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