As we prepared to move back to the US from Singapore, for me, the time couldn’t pass quickly enough. For various reasons, I was ready to leave. While I appreciated the opportunities and adventures, because of our specific situations, this girl needed to leave – like yesterday. Having been there for 4 years, we had ample time to do it all, eat it all, and see it all. I would miss nothing about it except the friends we had made.
My wise sister, who has moved a lot and done a good bit of leaving herself through the years, knew how anxious I was to leave and gave me some great and timely advice.
She said, “Andrea, leave well.”
Those two words, “leave well” profoundly changed my outlook. I realized how badly I wanted to get out. As if I was in prison waiting to be released. She helped me realize that endings can be just as meaningful as beginnings.
When she told me this I had about 7 weeks left. I realized I had spent quite a bit of time over the previous months wishing time away. Time is too precious a gift to squander. I began soaking in as much friend time as I could. I took as many pictures as I could without apologizing or even asking. I just snapped away. So many things that I had remembered seeing for the first time I realized I was now seeing for the last time. I was trying so very hard to leave well.
My youngest daughter and I were recounting stories recently while driving down the highway after an appointment. The smell from a truck’s exhaust for some reason reminded her of the airport in Nepal. I chuckled as I remembered how on one trip to Nepal we walked from the International terminal to the Domestic terminal. We laughed then and still laugh at that little unplanned trek. Through parking lots and honking cars and stares as to why we didn’t take a taxi (for the less than mile walk and we would have needed two taxis), through the dirt – we carried our backpacks and hauled our luggage. At one point the wheels on the piece of luggage I was dragging came off and my husband switched with me and just drug it wheel-less through the dirt and over the asphalt lot. We must have looked like such hobo’s. It ended up with huge holes in it so, needless to say, we left that piece of luggage in Nepal. In the trash.
Besides worn out luggage, we’ve left quite a few things in various places all over the world through the years. My husband left his pair of running shoes hanging in a tree along his favorite route after his last run in Singapore. (Those who know Singapore know what a rebel act that was. Even now I’m hesitant to post this for fear they will find and fine. haha!) We left all of our beds at a home for abused helpers when we left Singapore. We’ve left things at the airline check-in desk or in the trash because our luggage was overweight. We’ve left pieces of our hearts in every place we’ve ever visited.
I’m sure I’m not alone in being ready to leave 2015 behind. I’m sure someone else out there has luggage that is too heavy and some things need to get tossed before you board the new year. My friend, Stef, said on facebook yesterday, “Hey 2015, I think it’s time for your mom to come pick you up.” She also added, “2015 is the petulant child that has never been told no.” I laughed out loud by myself when I read that. I have to agree. I’m not one for wishing time away but I can’t say I won’t be a little happy to leave 2015 behind. It’s been a rough one.
The thing is, even if we’ve been drug through the dirt and are all worn out and filled with holes, the “luggage” that we leave behind held our history. It carried our junk. It also carried our heart. 2015 is a part of us whether we want it to be or not and we are a part of it. Without making it through 2015 we wouldn’t get to 2016. I’m all about leaving what we need to leave and moving on but I think sometimes the hard stuff skews our sightline from the good stuff.
The sunset is equally as beautiful as the sunrise – if we stop long enough to pay attention.
Let’s soak in as much good out of these last few days of 2015 as we can. Let’s take pictures of all of it. Let’s open our eyes and see for the last time what we once saw for the first time. Let’s leave well.
Later, 2015! See ya’ soon, 2016!
I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24