I’m sitting in Manchester Airport in New Hampshire watching the rain pelt down faster than I’ve seen in months. It thundered all through the night, and it almost seemed someone or something was trying to hold me back from the plane to Philadelphia for my first day of staging with Peace Corps.
With my sister Cara’s prowess at the wheel, we cut through the sheets of the rain, and I shuffled through a security checkpoint early this morning, mumbling something about Peace Corps and some “adventure” small talk with the TSA agent.
Then it hit me. I can’t believe this is actually happening. I can’t believe I have left D.C., a place where I just put down roots for community, a place where I found my dream job at IJM. A place where Jesus became more than just a thought process and a religion, and became someone I can count on as a friend. A place where I met all the beautiful, amazing family at Grace Capital City.
Over the last year and a half, I sailed the ocean for a while, worked my first fulltime job, and honestly became the guy I was always weirded out by–the one who relies on the Holy Spirit and talks about Jesus and love and grace and the beauty of all that. There were big life changes. And I experienced the most peace I have ever had in my life–a vast ocean of peace and excitement. You might ask, why leave? Why stand up and walk away from loved ones, relationships that were good and life-giving. Why did you walk away?
And my answer is a complex one. Two nights before I left D.C., I said goodbye to many people who are very, very dear to my heart. When I went to bed that night, I had a vivid dream of sorts of what things would have been like if I had stayed. I saw how good things could have been. This was a bit confusing to me. But then I felt like Jesus gave me these words: “It’s easy to leave places that are hard. If you had stayed it would have been good. You would have had beautiful experiences. But the fact that it would have been good makes the sacrifice and the departure so much more holy and beautiful.”
Sometimes letting go of good things is the most amazing thing we can do. When we accept that we may actually not be in control of the world around us and decide to get up and go, we start to experience so much we never realized was out there. We learn about others, teach what we have learned, and go immerse ourselves in a culture different than our own.
Sometimes a burning fire ignites in the heart, and it can’t be extinguished. Call it what you want. For me, it’s God. For others, they may call it wanderlust.
All I know is, though this next season may be hard, I know it is the next step in a journey. Journeys are fascinating. They aren’t just about walking a steady path and staying dry. The path is muddy, and the weather can get rough. Regardless of the journey, and whether I face “failure” or bumps in the road that send me flying into a different chapter than I expected, I will embrace it. And I will go. Until I’m beckoned back–whenever that may be.