On Loss {Part Two}

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{Written in March, 2014, from the final stop on an epic,
cross-country road-trip.}

There are at least two or three hours {for my overseas friends, maybe eight to twelve} between many of you and myself right now as I write these words from THE coziest king-size bed in my grandpa Frank’s home, in the chilly and foggy Spokane Valley. He’s the kind of burly, Canadian man who won’t leave the house without a stick of gum and his smart-phone, a pocket-knife attached the his belt-loop, and his Golden Doodle in the passenger seat.
So here I sit; I’ve given-up trying to keep my body on Eastern Standard Time, and have succumbed to the fact that my body is, in fact, out West {#suzygoeswest}, and would like to do what the westerners do, like not go to bed at 7 p.m.

I finally pulled into his driveway yesterday evening, through the Aspens and Pines, after rolling along for nearly two whole weeks in a car I don’t own, up from the North Georgia mountains, a place that has become home over the past year. On my way, I passed through Nashville to see a sweet friend and crash on her couch, and realized I’d been there exactly one year prior, when I’d made the move down to Georgia for the job recently lost, and my Jeep broke down on the road-side, where I remember thinking, “what the hell am I getting myself into?“; then it was onward to Kansas City, where home and hugs and {the world’s best} barbecue awaited, and after a dear friend’s beautiful wedding that ministered to the deep parts of my heart, along with a reunion with my best ladies from college and the biggest Easter service I’ve ever attended, I eventually headed as far west as one can get on $500 worth of gasoline.

The days leading up to today have all blurred together, and if you asked me to define them for you I’d say they’ve been sweet and bitter, messy and organized, & slow and rushed, all at the same time. There has been so much juxtaposition, and in the process, I’ve learned I’m not quite who I hoped I would be, no where close to who I once was.

Often-times when you lose your job, your very identity gets packed into that brown cardboard box along with your personal belongings and favorite pens that had been shoved in drawers and tucked into manilla folders amongst your work desk.

I felt both frantic and free the day it all happened, so what ensued, to my dismay, were two weeks of sangria and margaritas and every other kind of beverage my sweet hispanic brothers and sisters created to be paired well with food and dinner parties and wedding showers and laughter.

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OH, did we ever drink.
Not in the emotional, alcoholic way, but in the celebration way, how one drinks when a big life event has happened and it means something because it shook things up and hurt and set people free.

So I sat within circles amongst women I’d only recently let into my heart, allowing them full permission to speak into the fractures and crevices and dreams that were evident and yet kept hidden, the places I purposelessly protected and almost always neglected to tend to. These women were more than my peers and colleagues; they were a sisterhood, and they reeked of opportunity and passion and sometimes even pure anger, where if I glanced away for two seconds too long, they’d probably light someone on fire with their words.

It was messy, but we allowed one another to feel and be where we each individually needed to be. And for once, I was so okay with everyone not being okay, with things being out of control, and with shit utterly hitting the fan. I was okay with shoving Girl Scout cookies {bless the Thin Mint!} down my throat as I listened intently to their plans and non-plans and the camaraderie that was birthed when one of them honestly proclaimed, “I SUCK at being a follower of Christ!” to which we all nodded emphatically, relieved we weren’t the only ones.

These women, these newly sacred people in my life, each challenged me and provoked different direction. I challenged them right back, with audacious prayers and assignments from Jesus and sassy looks that seemed to say, “…I can’t believe you just said that. but I love you anyway.” 

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Even now, as I sit here on this cloud-like bed, wishing I had a dapper-plaid-wearing, lumberjack-looking-husband to occupy the other half of it {and that, coming from a gal who has rarely thought about or prayed for her husband until recently}, I still don’t know how I got here. Seriously. I’ve glanced back over my atlas, tracing all of the highways and byways with my index finger, and it just doesn’t make sense. Even my dad facetiously said, “sometimes I think God just drops you off places, kinda like the Jetson’s and their travel machine”, and I laugh out loud, because it’s true.

Which reminds me of what I do know about this sojourning of mine. It has all involved meticulously orchestrated plans by God to get me to two new states on my year’s “bucket”-list, ones I had no idea how I’d get to, but ones He remembered on that short list I’d made at Christmas-time, places He followed-through on getting me to.

“He always does what he says…The Lord watches over the sojourners.” {psalm 146}

The process involved me turning down a great job offer that just didn’t have peace wrapped ’round it. It involved semi-well-planned travel and lodging logistics for my last minute road-trip, snacks from Costco and my mom’s kitchen, and enough mix CDs to get me through the {suspiciously flat} state of Kansas. It involved so many finite details, but for the life of me, I don’t know how I made it from Point A to Point B.

P.S.-Since these days of sweet gatherings and road-trips, much adventure has ensued: 
Steph got hitched to Carl, who was once more than our boss, but someone who also became a friend and confident.
Heather hiked the El Camino with her husband for 6 weeks.
Emily & Katie ventured off to Turkey and The Republic of Georgia to document ministries there.
Lacee moved to Dallas to be with her fella.
Nicole is about to leave for a mission trip to Brazil.
And, amongst other events and travels, I led a group of amazing young adults on a mission trip to Appalachia, completely blown away by their servant hearts and boldness.

I guess it all serves to remind me that “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”, and nothing is wasted. Not one thing.

{Part Three…Now Available.}

 

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