I sat in a pickup truck in the parking lot of my new local Starbucks. My phone was clutched to my ear, the voice of my best friend wafting through soothingly.
“How are you doing baby? How’s the new job? How’s life in the south?”
I opened my mouth to answer but before I could, a lump rose in my throat.
“It’s good,” I answered. “It’s good… and it’s hard.”
Doing my best to swallow the lump, I took a deep breath. I began to describe my job and how excited I am and how perfectly it fits. I began to describe my warm, cozy home and how often my roommate and I laugh.
And then my voice caught again and tears began to fall.
“I’m so homesick,” I choked out. “I miss my family and my friends and my home more than I can even explain.”
I’ve been blindsided by grief. I just didn’t see this coming! In a place deeper than I could have ever predicted, my heart is searing, missing my people and my house and MY Starbucks in a way that words can barely describe.
The newness of this season is so sweet- God has provided everything, down to the tiniest of details (a free couch, a free coffee table…). But all of the details in the world couldn’t begin to replace what I left behind.
I’ve spent every weekend since I got home with two of my very best friends. We made it our mission to explore downtown Denver- finding wonderfully hipster coffee shops and new, hidden restaurants. At the end of each night, we’d spend the night at Michelle’s house- Michelle graciously giving Kelsey and I her bed, opting instead for the couch. Each Sunday morning, I’d wake up next to Kels. We’d climb out of bed, padding down the hallway in borrowed socks to find Michelle, and to borrow some of her coffee.
It became our ritual, sometimes heading off to our own churches, sometimes going together, holding each other’s hands as we faced the realities of our lives together.
Now that I’m in Georgia, I’m navigating the waters of a totally new place, a totally new life, while also painfully aware of the fact that my old life is still there, cozily waiting to envelop me, like an armchair by a fire.
Every day my mind zigs and zags between being so grateful and excited to be here- and literally swearing to myself that I’m going back home the second I’m able.
Maybe it’s a delayed response to coming home from the World Race. Maybe I’m now experiencing the grief and culture shock and weirdness that I so strangely seemed to have evaded when I landed. Maybe it’s the mourning that so many people go through as they graduate from college and step into the ‘real world’- it just showed up a few years late.
I don’t know exactly what to call it, but I do know that it’s exciting, and painful and confusing.
There are days when my brain feels like it’s going to explode from an influx of names and ideas and new information. In many ways I feel like a zombie, my face pale, my heart even paler- not yet feeling like my soul has caught up with my body in our move to a whole new life.
But I know that this wont last. I know that this season is temporary and that before I know it, I’ll be a creative machine, growing and learning and thriving. I know that God has brought me here with an incredibly specific purpose, and I’m so excited to get to dig deeply into that purpose, gleaning all I can from the wonderful people around me.
And I know that change is good. I know that change has the ability to open up our hearts, allowing God to move in and refine us to look more like Him. I know that it’s when we’re uncomfortable, when we’re unsure and when the ground feels rocky and unsteady beneath our feet, that Jesus gets to show us just how much He loves us. I know that the hardest times in my life have also been the richest- the catalysts for the most dramatic and wonderful changes- and I know that this will be just that.
So this is what I’m prepared to do. I’m going to keep showing up- zombie as I may be- trusting that slowly but surely, my soul will catch up and that color will return to my face and to my heart. I’m going to keep showing up for the change in my life, taking deep breaths and unclenching my fists- understanding that none of my heartaches have escaped the attention of my Heavenly Father. He hasn’t missed a beat, or a detail, and no change will ever change the fact that He’s good, and that He loves us.
“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”