Last week we said goodbye to our lives in Northwest Iowa. It was a CRAZY week, full of tasks and to-do lists and also full of emotion. The tasks and to-dos kept me from getting a good night sleep. I wasn't worried about getting stuff done. Rather, Karissa and I would be up late packing, going through stuff, etc. and we'd go to bed well after midnight. At some point between 5 and 6:30, I'd wake up. Normally when this happens, I roll over and go back to sleep. But when you're moving out within a few days, various things from your to-do list start to pop into mind. 'Don't forget to call this place and change your address'...'Call the health insurance guy back'...'You need to get more boxes'... There's no end. And a new one pops into your mind every few seconds. Of course because you've got sleepy logic, each question comes with a half second of panic. "Did I forget that?" "Is it too late to ___?" After a few minutes of that, sleepy logic goes away and actual logic lets you know that there's no possible way you're falling back to sleep. Time to get up and start another day of packing!
I'm happy to say that we got everything packed and it all fit into the spaces we had to store things in (our storage space and my childhood room out at my parents' place). Big props to the Sjaardas, the Kocks, and the Heathers for all their help packing and moving!
The big emotional moments of the week came with saying goodbye to my family. I didn't know exactly what to expect. I'd said goodbye before heading overseas several years ago. But at that time I was living in Texas and I only saw my family a few times a year. Also, back then I only had one niece who was a year and a half old. But for the last five years I've lived really close to my immediate and extended family. I lived in my grandparents' basement for my first few years back and I got to see them nearly every day. And now there are three nieces and a nephew, all with amazing, fun, distinct personalities I've been able to get to know. Saying goodbye to each of them was really tough. Lots of tears were shed.
When one chapter of life comes to an end and a new chapter begins, there's a wide range of feelings about each one. You're excited, eager, and maybe a little scared about the possibilities that lay in front of you. However, at the same time, you have mixed feelings about the chapter that is closing. You're ready to move on from some things. But there are other things from the closing chapter that you're going to miss. And as you move forward, you really have to mourn the loss of these things.
All that said, He's given me a good amount of peace about the whole situation. I fully believe that He has led us to Vietnam for the next year. And I know that the best place for us to be is in the center of His will. That doesn't make everything about the transition easy. But having that as a cornerstone makes it a whole lot easier to weather the changes.
The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!