Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hello and Goodbye

Transition -- a passage from one state, change, subject or place to another: change

Ethan's in school now. He was whisked off by his teacher yesterday almost before I had a chance to say goodbye. I am happy; excited for him. I'm looking forward to having some time to do things I've been meaning to do for, well, three years. I have a goal to take in more work on freelance projects, get reconnected with some people, start offering my input on the special needs ministry we're starting at church. I'm ready to go, but I'm still saying goodbye.

I've joked before that saying goodbye has always been such a miserable thing for me. I once had a crush on this guy who joined the Coast Guard. I spent the summer of 1989 writing letters to him that I knew I would never send. Whenever managers would get transfered from my job at McDonalds (McDonalds!) I would get all weepy and melancholy. When I left Baystate I had the song by Green Day running in my head for weeks (Another turning point a fork stuck in the road/time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go...). When Dan left for college you'd think he'd gone to study abroad rather at UMass. And when I had Ethan I mourned the loss of time I had with Anna, the change, the different-ness of it all. I'm the queen of turning change into a made-for-TV movie, like the Hallmark film on the other night, but this time it's different.

I'm saying goodbye to a whole way of life, and it's making me feel, well, old. Both of my kids are in school now. My days with very little children, with wailing, spitting-up, gummy-grinned, drooly babies and toddlers are done. This isn't so bad in itself...but there aren't many friends I know who are not in quite the same place. Most of them are a few years younger. Their kids are still at home and they're on their last baby. Or they don't have kids or their kids are older, but we're not close anymore. I hear this little voice saying sometimes, "Do you know what you're doing with your life?"

The voice attempts to scare me, but I don't go that route. I have Ethan to thank. I was thinking the other day of a Max Lucado book that I've never read. I love the title, though: "The Cure for the Common Life." This is yet another gift my son has given me. Sometimes I think where I would be if he were a typical kid, and I almost want to shudder. Maybe that sounds horrible. I don't want him to have autism and I don't want him to experience the many hurts that are out there in this world. But Ethan...well, he helped me stop seeing autism as something to run from. He helped open my eyes in a way I wish I had long ago. Without Ethan, I can see myself playing some sort of suburban game, cushioned from the realities of life, doing everything in my power to create my perfect world rather than longing to bring help and healing to this hurting world. I think of all the people I've met, lives I've discovered, the rich moments that have filled up my heart in the past year or so. Life somehow seems more real, if that makes any sense. I'm not playing games anymore. I'm not seeing through such clouded eyes anymore. I feel a sense of purpose that's more deep and fulfilling than the things I once dreamed of.

It's just...the purpose hasn't fully taken shape yet. And I still feel raw from the goodbyes, the change, the drawing close to age 36, the chapters in my life that have ended and doors that have closed. I keep taking looks back, even while I'm stepping forward. It reminds me of one of my favorite old songs by Sara Groves, "Painting Pictures of Egypt," which has been dancing in my mind often recently. I will end with this:

I don't want to leave here
I don't want to stay
It feels like pinching to me either way
And the places I long for the most are the places where I've been
They are calling after me like a long lost friend

It's not about losing faith
It's not about trust
It's all about comfortable when you move so much
The place I was wasn't perfect but I had found a way to live
No it wasn't milk or honey but then neither is this

I've been paining pictures of Egypt
But leaving out what it lacks
Cause the future feels so hard and I want to go back
But the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I've learned
Those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned

The past is so tangible
I know it by heart
Familiar things are never easy to discard
I was dying for some freedom but now I hesitate to go
I am caught between the promise and the things I know

I've been painting pictures of Egypt
But leaving out what it lacks
Cause the future feels so hard and I want to go back
But the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I've learned
Those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned

If it comes too quick I may not appreciate it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?
If it comes too quick I may not recognize it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?

2 comments:

rhemashope said...

girl, you and i are cut from the same cloth... "the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things i've learned." i love that sara groves song!

'Without Ethan, I can see myself playing some sort of suburban game, cushioned from the realities of life, doing everything in my power to create my perfect world rather than longing to bring help and healing to this hurting world.' so, so true. i get this. while i would never have asked for this journey, i am grateful for what it has taught/is teaching us.

ENJOY your (brief) time kid-free. i know God will bless it.

praying for Ethan!

Deb said...

:) Sometimes I am picky about Christian music but this song has always cut right to my heart. I'm glad you can relate. Thanks for your prayers!