Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reflection On Last Days -- 19 Days Left

Anna’s in the living room reading a novel.
Julia and Samuel are in the barn playing after their time spent in the garden gathering tomatillos and flowers.
Melanie is in the library.
And I’m just about as close to the fire as you can get.

In Young and Marie-Madeleine are in Victoria, BC and Richard is going to Whistler via Vancouver.

Jeff, Carrie, Gabriel, and Isabel are going to town.
Clarke and Jessica are doing the weekly shopping for the community.

What a life.

Sun finally came out and our plans for Tunstall Bay expotition are still set in place.

I adore this life.

And with such limited time left within it, I start to do that thinking that one does when something good is about to come to an end. Only 19 more days of this life is left.

Such a familiar feeling, so familiar that I’ve almost become numb to it.

My first “only a few days left of this life” moment was when I was 16 and packing to go to Switzerland for a solid year. I was brinked full of a slurry of emotions of mixed excitement, anticipation, and curiosity. It was the positive wonders that overtook any worry I could have and the transition from America to Switzerland, from the Hubert Family to Familie Hinter, from English to German, was smooth. The will to adapt made adjusting all the more easier.

The end of my year in Switzerland brought on the second “last days.” These had sickening potential and I denied my departure with full vigor... until I had to start saying “Good-bye” which brought on a new pain I had never experienced before. Without the certainty of a return, the unknowns of the separation affected me deeply in ways that later showed up in my American life in the form of panic attacks and lack of desire to eat.

Then there was the leaving of my high school life in June 2009, the last days with my high school mates. This wasn’t a phase of life I was going to spend any time morning about. High school? Over it. Prom and the graduation ceremony just seemed like barriers keeeping me from moving on with life.

Next time I got to say “good-bye” to my daily life was when I went back to Switzerland with the intentions of staying for a year. This one was one of the easiest last days I ever was put through. The promise of reunification with the sweetest slices of my Swiss life overwhelmed my brain and there was no remorse as I boarded the plane for Geneva.

My premature departure from Switzerland meant yet another time to leave. These were peculiar days - sudden and unexpected. I had only a handful of friends to say good-bye to and my dearest friend, Alice, had already left for England. This was a time God had used to give me closure to my previous time in Switzerland, sewing up open sores that I never let heal properly, and he was so involved in the process that leaving once again was not too emotionally exhausting. I understand the purpose of my time there and knew that what had needed to be done was complete and it was time to move on with my life.

Leaving for L’Abri didn’t come with any “final days” feelings, as I knew I’d be back in just three months which isn’t much at all, but this was one of the least acknowledged departures. I barely told anyone I was leaving, Facebook was not notified but deactivated instead. I unceremoniously left early on a Sunday morning with Brent and Sarah for the border.

And now I have to leave L’Abri.

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting when I came here, what I was hoping for. I know my expectations were set ever so low as to not be disappointed - but I think even had I set up high expectations, I would not have been let down.

This tight knit community has woven its way into my heart. With each of us contributing, altogether it is a beautiful thing. God has been here every step of the way as I try to learn to listen, as I long to long for him more. As I learn about the Kingdom.

24 hours a day I spend with these people - spending, at most, one and a half hours by myself in a day at a time before the reunification. Where I thought my introverted self would cry would I have adapted and adjusted, slowly settling in like cozying up on a couch - where each movement you make brings you into deeper comfort.

I have fallen deeper in love with each of the other residents here as layers of each beautiful person are peeled away in conversation and I begin to get to know the heart of each one.

In no time at all, as is usual, I have come to consider this lifestyle my life. What is happening now, this predictable rhythm of existence, is what I know and desire. Moments don’t occur in which I desire to be elsewhere.

This is where I want to be.

And in 19 days, I’ll need to let it all go. I’ll need to loosen my fingers’ grips onto the charms of my L’Abri life and ask God to untangle any ties that it has made with my heart. I hope to put them in a box and give them up to him. That way, with God as the keeper of my memories and emotions, I can move on and he can use them in me later on. I will trust him to toss be back to Fall 2011 to remember a lesson learned and keep me from slipping into the dangerously attractive trap of getting lost in a reminisce, trying to deny the present.

But for now, I’ll keep holding on. With 19 days left, a premature loosening of the ties would leave distorted memories fresh in my head, perverting those dear moments of nothing that have prevailed the hours spent on the hill in the woods on the island up in Canada.

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