Saturday, April 30

4am is perfect.

It has begun and I have been here before. Waking up from a slumbering world and having life crash down into my bed before I open my eyes. It usually happens towards morning the month before a major departure. It is a moment of true clarity - a perfect time to realize that a leaving is actually going to take place. Then comes the icy slide as logistics and time-tables battle with emotions - when the next step of the looming departure leaves no room for breath, and I see the faces of those I care for, and the room is silent, and my thoughts are shrieking. I can see a little too clearly at 4am. My vision is 20/20 and life is too bright to stare at. So I breathe deep and sink back into dreams, hiding behind the sunglasses of the Almighty. Thank God the world is imperfect. Do you ever wonder why we feel no compassion for the perfection of a super-model, yet a struggling stranger can evoke our compassion? The perfection of 4am is a lie. the imperfect world of 4pm is more to my liking.


Friday, April 29

Roller Coaster

On Monday, we visited the Spanish Consulate for several hours. In Chicago, the consulate said Kerry's papers were in order, but since I didn't have one thing (which they told our bosses in Spain I didn't need) my visa would not allow me to do missions work OR I had to get two more papers from Spain because I'm now under the new rules and Kerry is under the old rules. And by the way, my visa was going to take 6 weeks to 3 months and his would only take 2-3 weeks.

It looked like Kerry was going to have to go to Spain without me, since he will only have a certain number of days to enter the country when he gets his visa. We were having headquarters call our boss in Spain and him call our cell phone as we're standing on a street corner in Chicago. We weren't in tears or anything, but it felt almost like starting over on the paperwork since it takes so long to get stuff from Spain. It was looking like we wouldn't leave for months. Really paralyzing. While we don't want to say goodbye to everyone, it's simply time to get going.

We spent two very shocked and shaken days. Then yesterday we got another call from Spain. Our area director (the next boss up in line) said we were to have me enter as a resident -- that is technically unable to do missions work. We'll sort out the kind of work I can do on that side of the big pond. Also we are to go to Spain when Kerry gets his visa. I will return to Chicago when my visa is ready and pick it up. So time wise we are back on track for a departure sometime in June. Suddenly everything is on and urgent, but this feels better than a quagmire. Jetting back and forth between Madrid and Chicago sounds insane, but our boss said "welcome to missions." My friend L said it might be good because I will know of things I really can't get and really want after a couple months in Spain, so I can do a Walmart run in Chicago.



Tuesday, April 19

Goodbyes begin

When are you leaving? That's the way many conversations begin lately. It's a theme. The date of departure has been a vague undefinable point in an unknown future for many months. When it is nebulous, it's less threatening, less real. But that's changing.

Tonight was the second of the goodbyes. I've been avoiding them. I keep telling people, "Oh, we'll see you before we leave, don't worry."

I do mean it, but I'm also trying to avoid the unpleasantness of saying farewell to people that have significance and value to me. It's easier to just fade away, but that's not the way it will happen. The significance has gone both ways and so my friends and comrades won't allow me to quietly disappear. I love the time with the people, so it isn't the goodbyeing that is the problem. The departure is the problem.

Like a potted plant, I have grown happily in my snug corner of Kansas. Now as I prepare to leave and cross the ocean, my roots that have intertwined with many people here are being pulled and torn. I have to be separated from these dear people. While there is some tearing, I get to take pieces of them with me and I hope I am leaving some of myself behind too.

So I begin this blogging in order to sustain and nurture what is here. Yet I recognize that all our relationships will change and mutate into something different as the distance changes our circumstances.

Vive la difference.
(hmmm, I think that's French and I'm suppose to be learning Spanish....)