I quit my job last week. I started a new job today which is less mentally and physically demanding, so that I’ll be able to teach more and concentrate on making music.
It was bittersweet. On the one hand, it was the resounding answer to many months of prayer and discernment. On the other hand, my co-workers were the first friends I made since moving to this gloomy, rain-ridden state of Washington (from the equally gloomy, rain-ridden province of British Columbia). I’m not usually the type to get emotional over goodbyes, but this one was pretty difficult. This was partly because I had really come to love the people I worked with, but mostly I think it’s because there’s only so much uprooting a human heart can take in any given period of time…and I think mine may have reached its quota for the year.
Yet, I get the sense there may be more to come. Actually, I get the sense that uprooting may be a constant theme in my life.
I remember a time in 2005, back when I worked in youth ministry, when I was coming home from a two-week mission trip to lead a youth camp in Bermuda. I was flying home over the Rockies, which was always my favourite part of the flight home to Vancouver, because I knew that it wouldn’t be long until we touch down. I looked out the window over a perfect blue sky over the ancient glaciers, curled up in my sweats, jet-lagged and gloriously sunburned. Normally, I would have just been excited to get home, but instead of getting excited, I had this unshakable and disturbing thought that no matter how many times I flew over the Rockies to come home, I would always be saying goodbye.
A few months later, I started dating Raymond, who as you may know, I ended up marrying. A few years after that, I said goodbye to the home I have known and loved so that I could be with him. And even now that I’m with him, I’m still saying goodbye all the time; to my family, my friends, and all the things that have made up my identity for so long. In the last year when I had to leave everything I was familiar with, I was faced with questions that I haven’t had to answer in a really long time, like “What do I want to do with my talents?” and “What kind of life would I be happy to wake up to everyday?” They weren’t easy questions to answer, and it’s taken me a really long time to figure it out, but I might not have realized anything if I hadn’t started with a clean slate. This last uprooting, moving from one job to another, was in part because I think I may have finally arrived at some conclusions, and it was finally time to act on them.
I’m not going to lie. Change is rough. But our existence on earth being transitory by nature, it’s impossible to stay in status quo forever. My status quo for the last few years was all about figuring out my own hopes and dreams (instead of other people’s dreams for me). Now, it’s time to live them out. This is my new status quo. It’s simultaneously exciting and frightening and I have no idea how long it will last, but I know at some point, I’m going to have to say goodbye again. It might not hurt any less, but I’m learning more and more with each goodbye that it’s never forever, and it’s always for a purpose. The pain comes with a purpose. The change comes with a purpose. And if you fix your eyes on the right finish line, your next status quo will always be better than the last.