This may look like just look like any other normal, messy living room. (And really, this is what my house looks like on a regular basis). But on this particular day, this particular mess meant more to me than just another mess I needed to clean up. It meant showing up, running toward.
You see, I have started a habit of Friday Sabbath day. I would love to think that I could be one of those moms that waits to have a Sabbath day until all the kids are home so we could play games together (isn’t that what it means to be a good mom?!). But, if a Sabbath day means giving myself the time and space to rest and commune, than it is not going to happen while playing board games with 3 kids under 6. It is going to happen in complete silence, with a blanket, some coffee and candle.
So when my friend calls on Friday to see if she can come over for coffee, and then realizes it is actually Friday Sabbath day, so then un-invites herself, you always stop her, and say YES. Please come. Coffee is waiting for you.
And also in the moment of un-inviting, there is this hidden, unspoken fight lingering in the background.
I’m not sure if everyone has heard through the grapevine, yet, but the Parks Family is making a big move to America. That’s what makes this picture so beautiful to me in the “running towards” kind of way.
In this expat life, moving and saying “see ya later” is just what you do. There is constant flow of people coming and going and it is equal parts beautiful and life-giving and absolutely devastating. It’s this paradox of living that you feel so deeply when you have lived overseas. The highs are so high and the lows are so low. I think we live life in such an emotionally fragile state most of the time that even the thought of saying goodbyes can be debilitating. So while it is probably unconscious, when people hear you are moving, there are many moments of step-back, inching themselves away, as to not be broken by one more goodbye. No one does it on purpose, but it is the heart defense mechanism. In these moments, I am reminded of how we are MADE to be relational, MADE to want deep, life-giving relationships, and that is why this can be so devastating.
If I’m honest, there is a part of me that wants to pack up secretly and get on a plane in the middle of the night and send everyone a text message that says, “See ya later”. But the love that I have for friends here is too great and too deep and we have shared too much to sneak away.
So when a friend texts and wants to come over, the answer is always, “yes”. I’m proud of her. Running Towards, not Away in the moments I have here. I kinda feel bad for my friends, because I’m going to be doing a lot of Running Towards in the next couple of months. They are not getting away from me that easily. I know that probably means a lot more chain-reaction tear fests (and letting down my pride that I am an ugly crier), and more beautiful shared memories that can then make for harder goodbyes. But in my book, it’s all worth it. Running Toward is always worth it.