Leaving means replacement.
Leaving means moving on.
Leaving means trying to end well.
Leaving means fear.
Leaving is hard.
And then there’re the emotions we’re feeling.
I knew going into this move back overseas that it would be hard. We’ve met some pretty cool people during our latest stint here in the States. We’ve done some pretty cool stuff and worked with some pretty amazing people in work and ministry. I’m sad to be leaving them.
I’ve read a bunch of blog posts about transition (mostly from my friend who writes a ton about this sort of stuff at www.thecultureblend.com). Even my undergrad in Cross-cultural studies 15 years ago prepared me for this!
But what I didn’t think about was how hard this was going to be for our friends and family. I’m not sure what I was expecting, really. Maybe a little bit more excitement about what we’ve been talking about for the last 4 years? Maybe a smile on the face as we talk about moving back?
Instead, I can see that they’re hurt. I can see they’re not prepared for this.
Just today a colleague of mine went on for no less than 15 minutes about how awesome I am. About how I’ll be irreplaceable. About how I could have asked for more money in my job. About how he’s not going to have someone to bounce ideas off of any more. It’s funny that in the midst of these apparent compliments my countenance changed to that of sadness. I literally had to tell him to stop talking.
It was desperation.
It was grief.
When I see the lack of enthusiasm about our move, my heart wants to believe that everyone is being selfish.
That they’re not being supportive.
That they’re turning their backs and moving on.
But I know better. I know it’s quite the opposite. I know they care and I know they’re grieving over the coming changes right alongside us.
Excitement and grief mixed together.
As my aforementioned friend has said, “Leaving is hard. Being left is harder.”
So, instead of focusing on my expectations of how people are going to remember us in this move, I’m going to focus on them. I’m going to know that they are grieving, too. I’m going to make the best of the time we have together and know that they’ve got my back, even if it’s too hard to watch from behind as we board the plane.