Have you ever seen a skater spin on the ice?
Beautiful but dizzying to watch.
I feel like the last year of my life has been stuck in one of those spins. Woah. There was uncertainty and instability like you’ve never seen. The thing is, I’m so good at going faster and faster, at letting my heart feel to its maximum capacity. Sometimes I accidently send myself into hyper-speed because I just can’t get enough of life. But as exhilarated as I was by the momentum, it was exhausting. And now my time is up. I must stop spinning and walk now—slow and calm—away from the rink. Because there is no uncertainty. I know where I should go. I know when I should go. I know why I should go. This is a time for forward motion. The problem is, I think I have more practice spinning than I do with this calm, forward walking thing. For now, I circle the edges of this ice, collecting thrown roses.
I feel a little unfinished.
I’m leaving. And when I come back, places will not be the same. My hometown will have more new shops and restaurants, which will feel impersonal and unfamiliar to me. I’m watching them hack up old roads as we speak. People will not be the same either. Some of my friends will inevitably be gone from my days. This is not dramatic, only logical.
I will come home and naturally default to my last memory of normal life, which will be 18 months old and essentially: expired. Others will wake up and keep living. Because their last memory of normal life happened yesterday, before they fell asleep. This is reality. And guess what? I’m almost positive I can deal with it. On one condition: Can I finish up first? Because I feel rushed and very unfinished and I just need to exit normalcy in peace, ok?
Solution 1: Use Word Power to Micromanage my Endings.
All of this makes me want to write everyone letters, to tie up all the loose ends so they don’t flap back and forth in my face when I’m back, singing too-late. Too-late. Too-late. I want to say “Hey thanks for teaching me to be patient,” and “I’m sorry I was never sure how to be your friend,” and “Did you know I want to be just like you? Do people ever tell you that? You’re strength is noticed,” and sometimes, almost, I want to say things like “I need to admit that I was jealous, prideful, complacent… and that I really loved you but I was dumb about it.” You name it. I’m sure I’ve gotta say it to somebody.
The theme is: I want to box up the past in ribbons of finality. I want to leave everything beautiful, so that it might collect a dust of sentiment, like that trunk full of old pictures and newspaper articles your Grandma has saved in the attic. Ordered, loved, and not deserted. The dust is inevitable, but this kind is so much better than a dust of abandonment. I am the queen of trying to say it all, trying to leave things complete. This is the way I work.
Tonight my Mamaw was talking about her mother. The last time my Great Grandma Spires went to the beach, she knew it would be her last time. She went fishing for a few extra hours everyday and when it was over, she left her straw hat right there on the bed. She knew she wouldn’t need it anymore. It made my Mamaw very sad to watch, but I like that her Mom deliberately finished her time with the ocean. She left it that way on purpose.
“Oh Lord. I’ll go to my grave missing people,” Mamaw said as she told me this story.
I am the same way. Love this woman.
I want to love up all you people so that when I miss you, I won’t feel sad about how I left. But I’m not dying okay? I’m just trying to say a complete goodbye to this era of my life before I go spinning off into the rinks of California. (Seriously, I’m going to live in California? Who saw this coming?)
I have one more thought, and this one if full of hope, so pay attention.
Solution 2: Spot the Truth and Trust.
I used to take dance, where I learned this trick. It’s called spotting. Dancers spin well when they pick one spot, directly in front them, and keep their eye on it. Their bodies turn and turn until they are physically obligated to let their head turn too, after which they immediately return their focus to that one spot on the wall. Here’s what I know:
My focal point has to be Christ. That’s what this whole thing is all about. I have to put His light right in front of me. Looking to Him will never require my head to turn, even for a moment. Sometimes it turns anyway, but I can choose to re-focus. This is what makes all the speed and spinning bearable, even if I can’t say goodbye exactly how I want to. This is what helps me keep my balance. I know when and where and why to go, I’m just not sure how to go. But everything will be okay, He’ll complete all that I am not sure how to. I know because I have seen Him fill in holes that were much deeper and emptier, much harder for me to fill myself than any of the ones I see now. I know because He always fills me when I let Him, when I stop trying to do on my own.
And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.