Letting Go Of Our Dreams
In the theme of not so uplifting, but very honest and transparent, I would like to share a little bit about us and our journey over this past year. When we left Oaxaca initially, people asked us a lot of questions and it was very overwhelming and we honestly didn't have answers and weren't ready to give answers. As we approach one year since packing our life up and moving back to Washington state, I am recognizing more and more pieces to this story that I wasn't previously ready to see or say or even know. And I am not sure that I am ready. But I'm starting the process. This story, obviously, begins several years ago.
The Wedding Night
- not the beginning of our marriage, just an official date on an official piece of paper
When Mark and I first started dating we shared about how we wanted kids, how we wanted to travel, and how we might want to be international missionaries. After we were married, we applied and were eventually accepted with the larger denomination of our local church. We were pregnant with Rory, ambitious, hopeful. We were sure we would be living abroad within the year. That year turned into three. We fundraised, we planned, we budgeted, we got ourselves out of the little debt we had, we had Rory and then Jinora, and then we left for a job we thought would be the rest of our lives; a career that would grow as we grew; our dream come true.
Our little family of four before
The company we thought we would be with forever, the job we thought would be our career - turned out to not be the right thing for us. It was not the opportunity we thought it was. And while it would be very cathartic to point fingers and assign blame, I just don't have any. Some people said we weren't cut out for it or left too soon, but that also isn't right. We had to leave friends, neighbors, a house and area in Oaxaca that we had come to know and love. It hurt us to leave. And we miss it. Every day we miss it. To dismiss the difficulty of us choosing to move back is hurtful, to say the least. And to point the finger at someone or something else is to dismiss the much bigger picture.
God called us to Oaxaca. I believe that. I struggle with and don't understand that, but I believe it. And then, he called us out of Oaxaca. And I believe that. I struggle with and don't understand it, even now! But I believe it. And for a long time I thought I needed to have very specific reasons why, but I am discovering more and more that sometimes there is not a reason that you can see. Sometimes there are a million tiny reasons, or a really big reason that you are not yet on the other side of. And I may never fully understand it.
I have had the opportunity to connect with some people that we knew before leaving, some supporters, some missionaries, and some "upper level management" this fall. And what has surprised me is the overwhelming support. I expected anger and frustration, because that is what I have felt over this past year. Instead I have been met with kindness and grace and understanding that life does not go the way we plan it.
Navigating New Dreams
It's cliche to say everything happens for a reason. Obviously everything happens for a reason. You either believe that or you believe we are here randomly and spontaneously. But it's not helpful to say that everything happens for a reason. Our complex world demands complex thoughts, not trite cliches. So, I think, it is more helpful to say: "We don't understand why. And we may never understand. And that's okay." - It's in our nature to seek understanding, but I feel like as we discover more and more about ourselves, about the universe, the more we realize we have to learn.
We had to let go of that dream. Maybe someday it will flesh itself out in a new way, but for now? We have had to let it go. It has been a painful and lengthy process, probably for the best, but it doesn't always feel that way. In fact, most of the time it emphatically does not feel that way.
This is all complicated. It is expensive; financially, emotionally, and spiritually. Financially, it drained what little savings we had, quickly. Emotionally, it crushed us. And spiritually? It left us wanting. So what do you do when you are living paycheck to paycheck? What do you do when your goals, your plans, your dreams have been stripped away? What do you do when you want to create new plans, new dreams, new life - but are still raw? When you have lost your sense of direction? When you are tapped out?
I don't know.
Gratuitous photograph of my cute children
I don't know. And I am not going to pretend I do. Life is messy. Really really really messy. We can pretend it isn't or we can just live in it and try to do what we can when we can to make it better. We can only do small things, one at a time. So we are letting go. And whatever comes next? It will most likely be messy. And difficult. But we will do it. And then the next thing. And then the next.
Like I said, not a lot of inspiration today.
But maybe tomorrow?