Tuesday, May 21, 2013

On Losing and Finding

I am leaving home for seven weeks four days from now.

Before any large trip that I've ever undertaken there is always a moment, sometimes in a hallway, other times in the car or munching on a donut, maybe a familiar song comes on that launches a familiar dream only this time the dream I see is myself leaving the place that I am. Wherever day dreams catch me away to on the other days is a far different place than the one I felt swept away to today as I stood in the offices of my temporary job saying goodbye to co-workers.

"I am leaving home for seven weeks four days from now." Earlier this morning, had I written that sentence, it wouldn't have contained nearly the weight that it does as I stare at it now. Its reality has dawned on my week. The rest will be lived in its shine.

When I went on my first real roller coaster, I remember the moment I felt the harness snap into place just after which the attendants ran up and down along side the cars to make sure they had in fact snapped in. Against my fears and worries, I did not call out for them to get me out of there. I simply accepted that there were decisions, moments, dozens of them that had lead me to this, and if I were going to back out at any point it had better not be right before the thing I'd been saying I wanted to do was to happen. Stringing along events and dumping them, like people, would be a terrible thing to do to oneself (and others).

I'm ready for Costa Rica again. If I weren't, the time to say so was December, not May.

What I felt in the office as I said goodbye was something like the sinking feeling of immediacy. Anticipation dies away and some sort of focused spirit saying "It is time" is born. I hadn't let myself feel it until then--there was much work to be done leading up to it. Anticipation makes big events like this feel like they will always be far off, always "next month" or "next summer," but one day you find yourself saying "next week" and your guts get kicked in by your own words.

Buechner talks of leaving home and the scrap of our heart that is left behind there. This scrap we know as homesickness when we are away from dear ones, familiar places, etc. This is why we say "I miss you" or "I miss that". It is literally missing. It is a missing piece of the person we are when we are with that person or in that place. There is also the scrap of our heart that is sent ahead waiting for us to arrive where we will soon be present. That is the scrap that I felt leave me today in the office as I said, "It will be a lot of fun." Future tense, but now much more immediately present. A piece of me left and now sits on the bench at the home of Doña Yolanda in San Ramón, Costa Rica. You can hope for the coming reunion if you prefer it to praying.

When people talk about finding themselves on journeys or travels, I am sure that they do not often mean it literally. I believe they literally do it, though, mostly without knowing.

If you see me before I go, you will only be seeing most of me. Whole me will be back in July. : )

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