Leaving this time seems different, somehow.
I realized, as I sat on the bus that took me away from Northfield and closer to Singapore, that I’m weird with goodbyes. I’m not the sort to cry and hold on forever, no matter how I may feel inside. They’re always kind of awkward for me. You’ve got the well-wishes that are too composed to seem truly heartfelt, and then the mandatory goodbye hug. You want that to last forever, or at least longer than you’ve got, but you know you’ve got to pull away eventually so you cut it short to make it easier. I do, anyway. I always feel responsible for being the one to break away. Or maybe I do it so I’m not the one who’s left hanging on, so it’s not me who’s left behind, vulnerable, exposed.
But true to the word God gave me when He first sent me to Carleton, I’m learning to become more vulnerable like that. And I think part of why leaving felt different this time, stranger, a little more reluctant, is that I have grown so much in this place, over this year. I have experienced much, struggled much, changed much. Nothing has really been solidified, though, and it feels like all this moving threatens to mess it up. I think I’m afraid that I won’t be able to continue that growth when I get home. That isn’t true, though. It just takes effort.
Long plane rides are always strange. It’s like time is suspended. Irrelevant. Unimportant. It’s like a time portal. The plane takes you on a physical journey, but also allows you the space for a metaphysical one. It’s fitting, I suppose – provides for some kind of transition between where you’re coming from and where you’re going.
So I’m home. I see my parents’ searching faces at the arrival gate, but for some reason, I don’t want to be found just yet. I will have more than enough time at home with them this summer, and these last few moments of in-betweenness are precious, belonging only to me. I share this time with no one. This time, I give to my heart, allowing it to catch up where it might’ve gotten lost between the time zones. But perhaps, it’s never really only in one place at one time. Maybe it’s spread out all over the world, wherever the ones I love may be. The only way that’s possible, though, is for my heart to grow bigger all the time.
So let this be a summer of abundant growth, pulling out the weeds, planting new seeds, watering them, watching some grow, and waiting patiently for others, always believing their time will come. And knowing that when it does, it will be perfect.