Saturday, November 28, 2015

Change is a Form of Loss

Lately, I've felt a strong desire to walk up to people and awkwardly announce,
"I don't know if you know this, but...I was just in Korea."

And I know that they'd stare me down, look for my adult supervision,
and start to walk away. At which point, I would grab their arm, look them
straight in the eyes and repeat,
"No, I don't think you understand: I was just in Korea!"

And then this poor unsuspecting person just might run away. And they probably should.
Because I'm feeling a wee bit crazy lately.

Not really, truly I'm-a-harm-to-myself-and-people-around-me crazy.
I'm just the fantasizing-about-this-every-damn-day kind of crazy.

Because I just can't stop looking around me
at the coffee shop
at the grocery store
at the gas station
on the street
in the airport
at a rest stop
and thinking, "How does this place exist at the same time as all the places I've just been?"

Like Korea
and Cambodia
and China
and Vietnam
and Japan
and Thailand
and Indonesia.

It's disorienting.
It's unsettling.
It's crazy-making.

It's like Narnia. A place you've been to. A place that is real. As real as this chair I'm sitting on. But it's rare to find a person who has been there and can relate to what you're saying. Or someone who realizes that that place you just came from takes up 70% of your thinking on a daily basis. Someone who knows to say, "Tell me about this place you've come from."

It's not a rational question. You can't tell just by looking at me. I'm fine. I'm functioning. But this occurrence, where you've been to such a vivid and unique place, but almost no one in your "new" life has. They don't get it. How could they? So my body is here sitting across the dinner table, but my head is somewhere else entirely. That's a hard one that I haven't quite figured out what to do with.

On Facebook recently, a friend who also lived abroad a few years ago, wrote, "Turns out you can't live in two places at once. I'm still coming to terms with leaving a part of myself somewhere and being a whole person at the same time. It's very difficult. I have to admit that, for me, moving forward means forgetting a little. Heartbreaking but thus is life."

hiking in Bali, Indonesia

Travel is a dismembering experience.

A big part of me is in Colorado.
And Nebraska.
A large piece of me is and always will be in Cambodia.
Another piece of me resides in Korea.
And little bits of me are scattered throughout all the places I've landed in-between.

The farther I go, the more disjointed I become. But it's not only one painful amputation after another. Because some how, like Narnian magic, my heart grows fuller and my eyes more clear.

Rob Bell (who should start paying me for all these endorsements) says,
"Change, even it it's good, is always a form of loss, and loss must be grieved. 
That's the only way it works. Stuff it, deny it, repress or suppress it and it will 
come back to haunt you. It will lurk in the shadows and it will resurface later. 
Your grief then, is a sign of health. It demonstrates an awareness of your 
interiors, your heart, and your desire to face and embrace what's 
actually going on inside of you."

So, as I grieve the loss of this Korea-season of our life, I will do so with real-parts of my beating heart, pulsating from various homes around the world.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.