Sometimes goodbyes are quick, one tug and the sting ripples but for a moment. Other times (now) they linger, and I let them. I keep taking the long way home, feeling all of it a few last times. My engine whirrs, gasoline dwindles. I grin and cry and speak prayers aloud, my favorite songs as white noise. I couldn't do those things two months ago.
On May 24th my car was full of everything but a plan. I had no inkling of what this season would be like. Only when it came time to leave, I knew I wouldn't be the same. For months prior, it'd felt like hurricane season had overstayed its welcome and my life kept bumping into the line of fire. I was tired and sad and I'd decided my emotions could be turned off so I fumbled until I found and flipped the switch. Maybe this sounds confusing and vague (maybe it just is). Even so, I can assure you these words are honest.
I showed up and rented a mattress (no, I didn't get bed bugs ok?) dove headfirst into two jobs and tried to remember what living felt like. Most of the time I didn't really know what I was doing, but as I write, I feel a new richness coursing through my veins, glad to have grown and begun again.
Front porch hangs while fireflies (my very own staccato and redundant bits of hope) lit dusky nights, party-crashing/dancing along to a live reggae band, twenty concerts and aimless neighborhood walks, making set-lists and cowriting songs, 7 Harry Potter books and The Holiday (x3), lots of self-made iced cubans and meals alone, learning to write again and feel again, sunday morning's doxology and spending time with people I've come to love and believe in. All of it played into the grand art of moving forward that has left me so alive and bursting with gratitude for the intricate way my Father chose to bind my heart. I wish I had words to do the stories I lived justice, and also enough time to tell them all here.
So I tied up my loose ends and said my goodbyes, but I got to bid summer farewell the best way I know how: a road trip! 10 cities & 4 states in 6 days with my friend Ellie. Her life sings of trust and light and she is a friend I am more than proud to know. We sprinted in rainstorms twice, felt the breeze by three different lakes, and entered into homes of our friends. I'll never forget Lake Michigan's immense blue, singing 'You Are the Best Thing' with a trolley full of strangers, or feeling the least alone I've felt ever.
And now the goodbye that lingers is actually happening. By the time you, whoever you are, read these words, Nashville will be a distant speck in my rearview mirror. I feel the pang of loss, but more so, I feel a peace that literally surpasses my understanding; it is time to go and I will be ok.
At the beginning of the summer, two people I care a whole lot about passed along a message the Lord had for me: "I have brought you out of the woods and into a clearing; do not expect the woods to be fast approaching again anytime soon." Nashville: thank you for being the clearing. I love you with every part of me, and I will surely be seeing you soon.
WWLT: Excuses - Cereus Bright