Can I just say that there is nothing easy about separating from a way of life. I've done it so many times, but it really never gets easier. And when you have to watch someone you love doing it for the first time it's even crazier. We spent our last weekend in Germany and started the real good-byes there. At nearly 4 the boys really have no concept of what it means to hear that we're flying away in a week and they won't see us for a long time, but the girls really felt it. They gave us sweet cards and hugs that brought tears to my eyes. The world is growing smaller every day. There are so many means of communication that can make you feel closer to people even at a great distance, but there is something so magical about sharing actual space, breathing mutual air.
I've never been one who enjoyed the end of things. I would eat my candy bars as slowly as possible in an attempt to always finish last. This spread to the point of needing to throw away last year's Halloween Candy before I could trick-or-treat again. (Naturally the Reeces Peanut Butter Cups and other "real" candy bars were spared that treatment, but there were always some tootsie pops or those horrid peanut butter taffy's still sticking around to the stale end.) It's even worse when it comes to letting people go. I was the girl who would write faithfully to camp cabin-mates for years, and who was serious about the friendships developed with pen pals.
While many people believe that social networking and the likes are killing real friendships, I find them to be one small way I can at least nominally feel connected to so many people who still hold little bits of my heart in their hands, whether they know it or not. Granted there are also those people from high school that probably would have chosen to talk to someone else rather than me, but when informed that "you have 15 friends in common" went ahead and made the request...ah well.
What I really just wanted to point out is that, after three years living in Czech, I've had to say a lot of good-byes here and there. Most students were only in my class for a year, and then they vanished to jobs and universities. Most of my teammates only stuck around for a year as well. It's been draining and exhausting, though not quite as painful as giving myself fully to babies that were then handed over to families, their sticky fingers grasping portions of my heart so fragile that I sometimes thought I'd collapse with anguish of their departure. And now, here I am having to say good-bye to family again.
I'm so very much looking forward to being "home." Loosely translated, that means a place in which I can come in contact more easily with a majority of my family and a few scattered friends. I'm looking forward to a new chapter in my life, and new experiences. But it's never easy to leave a place that has become so familiar, or people who really are a part of my family now as well. For five months I've been living with Mark and his parents and they've treated me like one of their own. Hard not to feel like I'm stealing their baby away from them and running to the ends of the earth even after all the sweet things they've done for me. It's just hard, that's all.
Of course the packing process doesn't make it any easier. Every time I go through things I'm able to pare down more and more, but it's a big job, and there is always so much stress involved, not to mention stupid weight limits. And why they ever thought it would be a good idea to charge per bag I'll never make sense of. It's like the airline industry just wants to inflict more irritation on people in an already emotional state in order to cause them to freak out so that they can initiate a serious pat-down. Makes NO sense to me, but I've long been accustomed to the fact that most of the world has some strange idea of how things should be which is totally opposite to my own. When will they ever learn?
So there's a week left to go before the big flight date. There are rumors that snow could be on the way, so we would appreciate huge prayers that it doesn't cause flight delays. We'll be on a rather tight schedule once we get to the US as we'll have to pass through immigration and really don't want to miss connecting flights. But if everything goes according to plan, we'll be back with my parents by about 6:30 or 7 PM next Monday. Hard to believe it's finally here. Strange to think that we'd expected to be back in the middle of August, and here it is the end of November and it all seems to have flown by so fast.
Perhaps the sheer randomness of this post is enough to convey a bit of the frantic state my mind is in at the moment. I know that it will all pass. We'll work things out. We'll get on the plane. One way or another we'll end up getting through the good-byes and make it to a fresh round of hellos. But the process is so slow and painful...I just keep reminding myself that "those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar with wings like eagles. They will fly and not crash mid-air. They will walk and not grow faint." (random paraphrase as well, but you get the picture.)