now and not yet

before i complain, i just want to be sure i say that the blessings showering down upon us are incomparably better than any difficulty and that i recognize that the bad is there for a reason too, praise God. i hate to say it, but i understand what pat meant when she knew she was going back to school and was still 'transitioning' out. there's a weird sort of pulling away. i suppose i am doing that, too, but it really feels like at home, at work, with friends, something is slipping away. it feels similar to being spoken about in the third person--everyone making plans and talking about the future. and we're not included. i know what you're thinking: e, you're the one that made the decision to leave; everyone else is going on with their regularly scheduled lives. i know. i know. that definitely explains some of it. but not all of it. there's still an inexplicable and subtle ostracism. a separation of the sheep from the goats with me on the side of the goats. but this could be entirely chimerical. perhaps nothing has changed in peoples' minds and i was never included in the plans anyway. or perhaps it is more to do with greta and less to do with notre dame. in any case, we're still here. we're dying for attention. please feed the goats.


Blogger John McCollum said...

As long as you promise to oblige us to throw you parties when you return, we will always have plenty of goat chow on hand for you, my friend.

I hear goats like Guinness.

Anyway, I understand what you're saying about feeling like it's slipping away. I feel that way at church, and at my home group, and other places I'll be leaving soon.

Part of it's pragmatism; where it was once necessary to seek my guidance, it's now only necessary to seek key pieces of information that will be necessary to 'replace' me when I'm gone.

Still, there are those key relationships that, although they will change, will always remain in place. I can count on my fingers all of the people in my 'current' situation with whom time will always melt away, regarless of how long the separation has been.

For sake of propriety, I'll not make that list here, but you certainly occupy one of those fingers. (The middle one, since you're leaving me in such a bind! Just kidding.)

10 years from now, when we're all in vastly different places/positions/problems, I know that you and I will be able to still have something in common. And it won't have anything to do with Vineyard, or Element, or Clintonville; it will be that night we shared in Cancun. Ooops. Not that, either. It will be our friendship that's been short, but meaningful to me.

You've been more than a project manager; you've been a sounding board, a line of defense, a yin to my yang, a voice of reason in times of despair, and a voice of despair in times of reason.

Now, before this turns even more gawshawfully sentimental, I should sign off. Tears in beers are palatable. Tears in coffee are just pathetic.

Anyway, I feel your pain.

5/25/2004 7:24 AM  
Blogger Roja said...

I had the same experience...well almost every few years of my life growing up as an airforce kid. It was never more poignant than when I left Columbus though. In the weeks leading up to my departure I just wished that it would all be over because it hurt so much to know Iw as leaving everything behind. History is everything in relationships and community. Without history there is rarely trust, and without trust, rarely anything than superficial drivel that satisfies a fat man like a slim fast snack would. You are stepping outside of Columbus time, and into a new place with its own time zone.

When I first arrived back inthe UK I had a tough time. I wanted everything that I had in Columbus. I wanted friends, I wanted to know community and I wanted people to reel me into their friendship groups. It took a lot longer than I thought, and at times I have doubted that I could ever experience friendship as I found it in the US. Alas, I was wrong and I underestimated not only myself, but others, and God. I underestimated the very thing which made my life in Columbus so incredible: God's purpose. Who was I to think that God wouldnt posible have anything better for me? 9 months on I am loving life more than ever with people whom are as dear to me as any.

I hope you won't receive this as counsel, but as testimony. You and Brooke have prayed through this move, and you undoubtedly know that it is time to move on. Yes, it is going to be hard as heck...and yes, you are leaving people who love you as much as anyone could. You recognise their lives shall go on, and I urge you to savour each moment with them.

You are missed by people who are scattered throughout the world: people whose lives you have touched in incredible ways. You have much to share, and many people to meet. Go forth and conquer. Forte et gratum and all that.

I love you man.

5/25/2004 3:41 PM  
Blogger brad said...

Thanks for the vulnerability, man. After having moved around my whole life, I'll admit the first thing I think reading this post is that you're describing a strangely "normal" experience. Then after having thought such a thought, I feel callous or unhelpful, even though there is something important in knowing that you are not negatively singled out in the "leaving process". I want to caution you not to personalize it too much.

What are your expectations or desires for how you would depart in community? How specifically are they not being met? Are there particular people you would look to more than others for the kind of interactions you'd like during this process?

Just thinking through my experiences: Moving is an emotional as well as geographical transition. It's tough in community because (if you're a relatively secure, forward thinking person) people tend to be looking a bit beyond where they are in the day-to-day things; "our kind of people" plan around where they're going more than where they are. People who right now know that you're not going to be in their "future" don't include you in the "going there" today as much, or something like that. But since you and B are wholeheartedly in the tranition, letting specific others know what you'd like and how they can serve you seems important. Unfortunately, I could see it being easy to overlook someone's transitional needs in a time like you all are in. Yet if I were asked, I'd love to serve as I could.

The weight of the transition is far different for you and B than it is for the rest of the gang and so where you all once stood more evenly in your needs, there is now an imbalance that just opens some more of that "messiness" that makes community such a beautiful thing.

Let some of the same beautiful heart you're showing us be given to the ones you'd like to serve you the most in the transition. Ah, Billy!

5/25/2004 3:49 PM  

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