Stuff's getting real, here, people. I mean really, really real. I told a friend recently that one of the hardest parts of this Series of Fortunate Events is how hard it is for someone like me - a deep, and terribly, terribly slow processor - to reflect on all that is happening in our lives at any given moment.
We move from Austin in a little less than 3 weeks. In those same 21 days Brian will be ordained into the priesthood, Natalie will graduate from high school, Kendra will leave for 9 weeks in Africa, and Alex & Bekah will move from Houston to Fort Worth. We'll have a bunch of celebrations, welcome some friends from home, visit with our Bishop, say goodbye to amazing people, pack up our house and leave this bright city. In the middle of all of that, we'll try to figure out the most appropriate time to break down and bawl -- just all-out, cathartic cry-our-eyes-out sort of bawling.
I suspect that moment will take up much of the 30 hours of driving back to the Northeast. I'm going to need to pack a lot of tissue for that journey.
Up until now, we haven't been able to cry much. Some of that is because - let's be honest - emotional health requires we pace ourselves. There's another reason, though, and that is a deep sense of gratitude and contentment. For all of the things that could have happened here in Austin, things which loomed achingly large to us last summer when we couldn't imagine what God had for our future, we've come to a peaceful, joyful trust that we have done our best (which has mostly looked crazy and messy) in this season of learning Austin, learning Anglicanism, learning vocation, and launching 4 new adults into the big world. We came here a bit dented in our ability to trust God and His people, and we are leaving renewed, restored, refreshed, remade.
How could we NOT see these weeks as a time to worship? Cry, yes. It seems ludicrous (as it did back in 2011 in New York) to leave behind amazing friends and our dearest family. But even those tears come from a place of renewed worship, that our good Father does see us, He hears our prayers, He acts and comes speedily to save us. He does not waste our suffering, our lament, our gifts and dreams. He is making all things new, at all times and in every place. He has made us new, and we can only receive this gift with humble thanks.
It's these moments of feeling appropriately diminished by the lavish gifts God gives us after our seasons of despair -- and instead of feeling humiliated in that diminishment, but embraced -- I am saved. It's these moments when God's love makes us appropriately small so that His presence can loom large that I most believe in His goodness.
These are my thoughts this Sunday evening. I don't use this blog space very often for stream-of-consciousness reflection. This seems like an appropriate time.
Peace, friends, far and near.
p.s., Here's my Friends playlist on Spotify. Brian and I are listening on repeat these days as we say good-bye to so many, and anticipate saying hello to many more. Might I encourage you to celebrate the gift of friendship this week?