A dear friend used this phrase tonight as I tried to explain how I feel about graduation. I wasn’t prepared to feel this way. I always though… you work up to your senior year and move towards graduation and there would be this huge sense of elation. I knew that you would be sad to miss people and what not but…. I didn’t realize how big a wreck I would be.
I am graduating and a week later moving away from the place I have called home for the past 4 years. The place where I have grown up more than I ever thought could happen in 4 years.
I’m leaving youth that in the past 9 months I have fallen more in love with then I ever thought possible. Youth that tug at my heart when they tell me they will miss me when I leave.
I am leaving a job that has been very good for me for 2 years. A job that I love more than I ever thought possible. It is a job that I would go and do even if I never got paid for it, the pay is just a bonus!
I am leaving people who reside so deep in my heart I will never be able to extract them out. Friends from school, both graduating seniors and others. Friends and fellow youth leaders. Pastors. My church family. My crazy amazing youth.
I didn’t realize how hard that all would hit me and has been hitting me for the past few weeks… but at the same time I have realized how blessed I have been:
God brought me 4 years go and gave me the gift of LIFE.
God has blessed me with meet so many amazing people through my job, school and church(s).
I have matured in ways that I never thought possible and faced situations that I thought for certain would break me beyond compare.
God has purged me, refined me and is continuing to teach me about myself and Himself.
Earlier this year God challenged me… when I realized that I was going to be moving somewhere knew my initial reaction was to pull back, to give less because that would mean it would hurt less for all involved. Well God didn’t like my plan. He challenged me to instead of pulling back to put myself out there to a greater degree. To pour in like I have never poured in. To really love on the youth at my church, to meet new people no matter the time frame I would be here for. And I did. I realized last Thursday that God loved me so much that He wanted to give me the love that I have for those I poured myself to and the love they have for me. But this gift is painful as well for it hurts more for me to leave now: to know that I am leaving them, that I will no longer see them grow in the Lord. God challenges us to give us good gifts but often these gifts cause pain, good stretching pain but pain none the less.
So you see… this whole graduating business is seriously a cornucopia of emotional chaos and confusion. I am so excited about this next adventure that I am about to go on: moving to the East Coast, being an intern for the Northest District Office, being near one of my best friends and having grand adventures. No one can say that my future and this next trekk on my journey will not be grand but… that doesn’t mean that I do not mourn the life that I have experienced in California…
there is a tension between excitement for this new adventure and the heartache over leaving the people that I love so deeply.
And what about the what ifs? What about the what could have beens if I had stayed? What about the realtionships that could have so much potential??
Well. right now I have nothing else to say except even this is a gift because the pain I am feeling is only because I love deeply and as I have told my youth… you do not loose those who are no longer near you but instead your love is able to expand to cover the distance that is between you. I need to stop thinking about the missing in terms of the distance but instead in terms of the width of our love and the ways in which the distance is covered… letters, computers, texting, phone calls, skype and airplanes.
Well… back to studying. 2 more Finals and then my time at Life Pacific College will come to an end and I will continue to a new adventure. With the closing of one thing another is able to begin. Here we go!