Waking Up… A Year Later

We’re just coming up on our one-year anniversary of when we left China.

That fact feels impossible!
Here’s a post from 367 days ago. It’s amazing how far away those feelings seem…

And how they seem as fresh as ever… at the same time.

Waking Up

No, I’m not typing in my sleep, though yes, I am recovering from several too-late nights in a row. Actually, the recovery may have to wait until we’re back on Canadian soil. Sleep seems to be in ever-shorter supply as our time in Shiyan ticks down.

We leave Shiyan in two days. I know that sentence is just a statement to any who read it. It’s just a fact. But to us, it’s a loaded sentence. And it hits. And it hurts. And it’s just been starting to affect my tear ducts.

I’m exceptionally gifted at denial. I can block every thought of an impending event up until almost the very last moment. All year, I’ve known that this Saturday was coming, and I left it at arm’s length–a year’s worth of arm. But time moved on, and ‘Saturday’ started butting into daily life: I had to book air tickets, I had to plan and grade exams, June appeared on my calendar, people started emailing about our coming back to Canada. All of a sudden, there was no denying that my ‘year-long arm’ was a lie. The day was coming. So I shortened my limb to a ‘one-month arm’, and I held on to it dearly. And now here I am again, forced to admit that the ‘arm’ in my mind is nowhere near the reality. We leave Shiyan in two days.

Our past ten days or so have been so special! I’d love to tell you about them, but I fear doing so. I’d speak of things that touched our hearts: Of notes received, memories made, stories shared, and heart-revealing moments of sharing and ‘praring’. And I wouldn’t have the words to express the feelings involved and the emotions that flow even as I sit here now. And then you wouldn’t have the ability to ‘hear’ what I really meant to say… even if you really do care and desire to understand.

Leaving is hard. Goodbyes are never fun. Everyone knows these things. I’m just now sitting in that funny spot where my heart is actually starting to get in sync with the reality of the situation around me, and I must admit to feeling some shock and some sadness as it happens.

The blessing of it all? Such feelings suggest that we’re living a life worth the trouble. They confirm that love is indeed worth giving, even though it will hurt sometimes. To use Eldredge’s phrase, maybe I’m reminded that “living from your heart” is the only way to live. Anything less is just posing or playing. I slip into posing and playing sometimes, to be sure, so the beauty of such feelings as these might be simple: They put me back in touch with really feeling alive. Tearful and tough as they are, I wouldn’t trade these moments and these feelings for anything.

Now the long, ‘likely terribly teary’ train ride to Beijing… that I might trade.

But I’ll deal with that when it arrives.

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