The wait is over. I’m going to be on the other side of the world by Tuesday afternoon. I quit my job at the cafe, my bags are packed, and I’ve spent the last couple of weeks saying goodbye. Yet, the fact that I’m leaving for France doesn’t feel like reality. My emotions are all tangled up in nervousness, excitement, and a good deal of confusion. As it turns out, no amount of research really prepares you for the reality of ridding yourself of stuff and making the move, and suddenly all my French seems so insignificant and elementary.
For all of its challenges, this extended period of waiting has actually been pretty good in a lot of ways making goodbyes that much harder. I could not pack my life into a couple of bags without leaving something out and lots of someones behind. Change of any kind is a form of loss. Some that loss is in garbage bags marked either for donation or the trash collector. Some of it is intangible, inevitable, and far more significant. I already miss my work at the cafe, mixing batter, pressing dough into quiche pans, all of the regular customers, and laughing in the back with my boss while trying to explain why Americans do what they do, not to mention all of the free coffee and pastries. Somethings and people are hard to leave. Other things, like the abundance of beige processed food and the way squirrels constantly chatter and skitter all over the roof of my room, are not so difficult to say au revoir to. Regardless, I’m a different person than I was a year ago, and for the first time in a long time, I like the person I’ve become. In moving to France, I know I’m committing to changing all over again.
Right now It feels like the moment onstage before the curtains draw and the lights come on. The orchestra is tuned, rehearsal is over, and absolutely nothing else can fit into my suitcases. Now I just have to keep a cool head and steady hands as I get on that plane to go to France. I think part of me really won’t believe that all this waiting and working towards getting to France is over until my feet are firmly on French soil. Between now and then, I have a few more goodbyes, and then I’m off! I know I will face some of the hardest struggles of my life, but I’m not going alone. After all, I believe in a big God who is with me wherever I go.
Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.