Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Letting Go

I've moved a lot in my life.  High school consisted of packing up my stuff from home after summer and moving back into a dorm room every fall. College wasn't much different.  I added a bit of spice to the moving mix when I packed just two suitcases and moved to Albania for a year.  Then there was the epic try of going to medical school in Seattle, Washington.  We ended up packing all of my things from Lincoln, Nebraska into several large boxes and shipping them by Greyhound bus to Washington.  Of course, those boxes ended up getting packed right back up after three months and then moved to my Aunt and Uncle's, where they still wait.  I left for France with three suitcases and a large purse and lived off those for 18 months. 

A lot of the questions I've been getting lately since returning to the States consist of what I am doing and where I am living.  They are hard questions to answer, particularly because I am homeless, jobless, and somewhat without direction.  I arrived back in Idaho after a fun little stop in Chicago with my best friend, a road trip with said angel up to Lincoln, and a five day stay there getting over jet-lag and seeing dear college friends and professors.  Once I stepped out of the airport in Boise, the smell of that beautiful place nearly knocked me down and mowed me over.  The whirlwind of movement didn't stop, though.  My father came to pick me up and we lugged my entire life of 18 months up to our Ranch in Bellevue.  I thought I would have a chance to unpack all of my things.  Then I realized it was more practical to simply pick and choose what I needed for the next two months and fit what I could from that pile into one backpack. 

So, I've currently been living out of said backpack.  My next step is a flight back to Washington to retrieve my things.  It has always been interesting and refreshing to me that every time I move or make a transition from one place in my life to the next, I get this awesome opportunity to go through all my things.  Every move I have made sees me donating, throwing away, and recycling things.  And every move reminds me how little I need all of this stuff. 

There is a part of me that dreads the thought of having to go through all of those things, though.  Because, honestly, I would like to not have to be confronted with my feelings of attachment to all that stuff!  They are just things, for goodness sake! 

Why is it so hard to let go?  Before even leaving France, I started having problems with my lips being extremely cracked on the sides.  The problem only got worse after I arrived in the States and I ended up going to see my Naturopathic doctor in Boise.  He explained to me how grieving and loss tend to effect the balance of water and salt in our bodies.  This has a direct effect on mucus membranes, such as our lips.  He asked me if I had any sort of grieving that could be causing this imbalance. 

Ahem.  Yeah, about that.  Me, grieving leaving France?  Pffft.  I'm the poster-child of dealing with loss and change!

But let's be serious.  I am not.  It has been a difficult transition of learning to let go of the life I had in France and accepting the life that I will have here in the States.  And accepting that it is okay for me to grieve and to miss France and the people there.  One of my major weaknesses is my fear of being weak.  It is difficult for me to let go and open up and allow others to know that I am grieving.  Going to France changed me.  It made me a better person.  I met people there who I never want to lose contact with and whom I love very, very much.  If I thought it was what God was calling me to, I would have stayed in France a whole lot longer.  But it is not what God is calling me to.

I have moved a lot in my life.  I have moved across big, long distances and across wide, deep oceans, and over cultural boundaries and different languages.  My stuff has dwindled as I have learned to understand what I need and what I do not.  And my life has become richer with each move.  Letting go does not mean forgetting or disregarding the beauty of something or someone.  Letting go simply means that you are opening your hands to receive something else just as beautiful and life-changing.  And I'm a strong believer in living life-changing experiences.  Because isn't that what life is all about anyway? 

Thanks for following me along on my journeys.  I will try to keep y'all better posted on how things are going.  Don't forget to live it up and let go when it's time.