Saying Goodbye to my Tractor


I’m standing at the top of the driveway, waving goodbye. Just five minutes ago I looked down at a 12 year old boy about to haul away my John Deere tractor and thought, “Take good care of her, kid. She’s been good to me.”

A tear fights its way to the open air of my eyeball.

I’m not going cry over this.

The tear loses the battle as I relax it back down the duct.

The whole half-second mental dialog was extremely cheesy.

But I meant it. I seriously had an emotional reaction to selling my tractor.

It’s always surprising to find out what holds significance in your life. In preparation for our move, I’ve been almost indiscriminately throwing things away, selling things, and giving them away to people. In fact, I’ve not-quite-jokingly said to Jacquelyn for the last several weeks, “If you have to ask me if we should keep it, then we should absolutely NOT keep it.” This last month we’ve sorted through 2 storage places. Some of this stuff has been around since we were first married and given to us as wedding gifts. Gone. Traded in for a fraction of it’s worth. Stuff that we brought back from China and has been sitting in another storage location for the last 4 years waiting to see daylight…gone. No tears, just regrets that we spent the money to bring it to the States in the first place.

But the John Deere tractor got me.

And it’s not just the tractor. It’s responsibilities, too. In the past week I’ve been handing over my responsibilities to different people. With each email I write officially handing over the work, I feel that tinge of loss. As much as many of these things have been a challenge to keep up with, I’ve enjoyed doing them. In just a couple of weeks I’ll say goodbye to the job I’ve held for the last 4 years. That’s not going to be easy, either. I’m training my replacement now. It’s kinda surreal.

But what hurts the most is leaving people. I try not to think about the people that we’re going to miss. The list is long. And the significance is great. And it’s not just who I’m going to miss. It’s who my kids will miss. Their teachers, their friends, their aunts and uncles, their grandparents. It gets overwhelming.

I may have won the battle over the tractor, but the tear is going to win the war. At some point sadness will overwhelm. And that’s ok. If Inside Out taught me anything, sadness is a part of life that must be embraced and worked-through. But more importantly, we know that He has called to be overseas. We know that the work here in the States will continue without us. We know that our friendships will continue.

And as for my tractor – it’s in the best place that it could be in – at the controls of a cool, ambitious 12 year old boy.

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