The past 11 days have been a slew of saying last goodbyes, traveling from one of the remotest countries on the planet to our new home here in the States, all 17 bags + carry-ons in tow, saying hello to some of “our people” and fantasy family, purchasing groceries, getting acquainted with our new home, purchasing our Christmas gifts and celebrating Christmas…it’s been a tad hectic. I write that to say thank you for understanding why I didn’t post last week, and as a way to share why I feel the way I feel right now. And why do I write about why I feel what I feel? Because of Clay, an artist friend of mine’s post on Facebook a few weeks ago.
He writes, “Writers, everyone talks about honesty. Let me tell you what honesty isn’t: a description of something you feel. We’ve all felt the full spectrum of emotions, but I want you to tell me WHY. Be specific. I’ve heard it said that many writers spend time writing about the epic mountain landscape, but only the best write about the blade of grass. If you want to make someone feel something, don’t tell them how you feel, tell them what made you feel. Give me a story, not a list. Give me humanity. Be so honest that it gets you in trouble.”
Though I don’t fully agree that everyone has “felt the full spectrum of emotions” as some suppress what they are feeling because it’s “dangerous” and leaves them vulnerable, I do agree that there are many of us who desire to know they why and how. How did it make you feel is just as important as why. But without the why, we are left hanging in a place of ungrowth…dormant perhaps. Knowing why someone, or why you yourself feels a certain emotion, helps us truly be present, experiencing the moment to the fullest extent we can or are able to.
I was on the 10 hour flight from Seoul to Seattle when I started to cry. Sobbing really. My youngest son looked up, got very quiet, and asked if I was crying. “Yes,” I said. “Why? Are you hurt,” he replied. “No, no I’m not. I’m just very, very sad.” Why,” came that very sincere heartfelt innocence truly wanting to know why. “Because I had to say goodbye to some people that I love a great deal. I had to say goodbye to our cat who was special to us. I had to say goodbye to a place I loved and a job that I really loved doing. And to a lifestyle that is no more any longer. That’s why, C,” I replied. “I’m sad to dad. I had to say goodbye to our cat….and my friends. I don’t have anymore friends, at least, I only have two friends where we’re going, but none at my new school. That makes me sad.” And he began to cry to. We sat there for a while, snuggling up next to each other.
It’s been a hard place to be in, here holding both joy and grief in tension. The past few weeks, I’ve handled many things matter-of-factly simply to get the logistical stuff done. But when I stop and allow myself to feel, it all comes back quickly and intensely. It’s amazing how simple things that seem hardly connected, can cause me to feel the pain of saying goodbye-a smell, taste, the way the sun hits a certain angle on a tree or bush….simple things. And then of course there is that excitement of something new, undiscovered territory, risk and what lies ahead. The joy of relationships that were deep and jobs that were fulfilling. The feeling of being home, a new start, a new chapter.
The next few months will be more about reflection, deep searching, an inward and upward journey than they will about a profession. My hope is that I will take my friend Clay’s words to heart and be able to express why I am feeling what I’m feeling and more clearly express the learning journey that I’m on. Whether it be spiritually or the trail I’m currently hiking. I also hope that as we head into a new calendar year, you all will be able to express the same things. Not because you’re narcissistic (unless maybe you are), but because we learn and grow from each other. Reading what I write, I hope it helps you grow in your journey in life. But I also need to learn, and perhaps there are things in your life I may can learn from. But I won’t know unless you share them with me and others. I encourage you to share the what, why, how, where and when with others this year.
May 2017 find you to be on an inward and upward journey as well.
be blessed today