My life has been one of coming and going, since I was an awkward fifteen. The going of course was always the hardest part, because my sunburned cheeks were marked with traces of tears and the walk to the van always seemed like an eternity.
And I know there were some capable of leaving the goodbyes to the moment, but I was always the one who took the goodbyes with me. I was the one who would find an open seat in the van to sit still in my tears. I was the one who contemplated the return in the very moment, I was leaving.
It wasn’t ever understood. It’s not even understood, now.
People have always raised their eyebrows when I tell them my first love wasn’t a man, but my God. People have always questioned my lack of a boyfriend for twenty-plus years and my crazy love for a country.
People have never attempted to stop questioning and with time, I have never attempted to stop answering.
But I know all the questions and answers in this world cannot suffice to depict the call, the call to move.
I know it isn’t normal, but I never asked God for normal. I asked God for more.
Thirteen years spent living out of a suitcase and failing to pack lightly. Thirteen years spent captivated by a country and at times, content with being empty-handed and unattached.
Thirteen years spent being affirmed that Mexico wasn’t just a place on a map, but a place I was made for.
Thirteen years and over thirty short-term trips have turned into a little house on Cerro de Punhuato, four houses up from where I spend all of my days and nights.
Five years spent being affirmed that Morelia wasn’t just a place mentioned in a book, but a place my heart was meant to call home, for however long my God chooses to see fit.
But in the coming and going, my heart hasn’t stopped trying to hold onto goodbyes…it has also tried to hold onto people.
I haven’t just packed my own bags, but I have tried to pack the bags of the ones I have met along the way to join my journey, but my journey is not theirs.
I might have the purest of intentions to want their sweet company along the way, but it doesn’t matter. They weren’t meant to be mine, forever, not even for a time. They were always HIS.
But I have tried my hand at packing their bags, too. I have tried to take them with me and live in the state of unending goodbyes. However, it’s in the unending state of goodbyes, when I lose myself in the present.
My purest of intentions are faulty and unwarranted, at best. The results are always unsuccessful, because some people are only meant to stay for seasons and they cannot be securely kept under lock and key.
I cannot take people with me.
Sure, I can steadily stay and sit with them, but I cannot pack their bags and force their hearts to move, when it isn’t their time.
I cannot take them with me. I must understand that their journey is not the same as mine.
I cannot live in the state of unending goodbyes. I must live in the present.
I cannot pack their bags. I must only pack my own.
Peace has started to come in waves, because for the first time ever in my twenty-eight years: I am realizing that I was never meant to carry the bags of others, I was never meant to take anyone with me, I was never meant to dwell in the state of unending goodbyes.
I, alone, was made for my journey of coming and going, packing and unpacking, loving and losing, teaching and learning.
And I’m beginning to walk into a new season, a season that comes with being misread and misunderstood, because I’m finally claiming what is mine. With this season comes a surrender, surrendering the ones I have always tried to take with me, and understanding that with walk-outs and wildernesses, my love doesn’t become lost on them. It just results in a realistic recognition that the ones I love cannot be taken and innocently placed on a shelf, always within my heart’s reach, but instead sometimes I have to give them up and over to the one who they truly belong to. I have to trust that Jesus has them. He always has.
And so I realize that this season isn’t one of striving to hold onto people or pack up their bags to come alongside me; it’s a season of beautiful surrender. It’s a season that God has written just for me, a season that I spent years longing for and denying simultaneously, for fear that I was asking too much of Him.
I hear him calling me to come further and He’s gently whispering to my heart, “you maybe the most misunderstood of all, but I understand you. You may only hear the harsh critics, but my voice will drown out their blatant noise. You may find the promised support to be a ghost of years’ past, but I am with you and my love lasts. Pack your bags, love, there is more to the more you asked for those thirteen years ago. There’s more than you know.”
And my trembling hands still and my heart stirs at his voice of truth, because I know that He has understood me long before I knew…