The Goodbyes

By far, the hardest part of this journey overseas has been saying goodbye to our family and friends. It seems like an impossible position; you’re excited to begin a new adventure and all the opportunities that come with it, but you’re terrified to let go of those you love the most, with no real guarantee of when you will see them again.

You cannot expect everyone else to be just as excited as you are, when in their eyes you are choosing to leave them behind for something else. You wonder if these relationships will be able to withstand the distance and time away, and whether you will be able to recover them if/when you return.

They want to convince you to stay, you’re trying to convince them to let you go. You want them to support your decision, they want to give you every reason why it’s not the smartest decision.

The hardest thing in the world is to support someone for doing something that you believe may not be right for them. You think you know what is best for them, and don’t want them to make a mistake that seems avoidable.

The other day I saw a young girl standing on a swing, flying high in the air until the swing chains were nearly parallel with the ground, hair blowing, with the most exhilerating smile on her face. As a parent, my immediate reaction wanted to be to shout out “Be careful!” or “Sit down now!”.

There was a very good chance she could have fallen and gotten hurt. But there was an equally good chance that she doesn’t, and she climbs down from that swing with a new confidence, a new perspective of the world, a new relationship with fear, and a new desire for challenge, ready to take on anything.

In that brief moment she was free, she was happy, and she was who she wanted to be, and it was the best moment of her life.

That’s kind of how this journey is. In the moment, who knows, it may not be the best decision. But we are living. We are exploring. And we may get hurt. But we may achieve great things, and see things from a new perspective that we didn’t see before. All we can pray is that one day our friends and family will understand, and we can look back and reflect on these memories, proud of ourselves for taking this leap of faith.

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