Entering A New Chapter, And Leaving An Old One

I wrote this before I left Kansas. I remember exactly where I was when I wrote it, how I felt. An unsettling knot of insecurity growing in my stomach the same way yeast grows the longer it sits. 

It's taken me awhile to share. And I didn't think I would, but I believe our personal stories can help one another heal, move forward, and can most importantly be comforting to those in similar situations. As you read, keep this in mind...

There's a lot on my mind as I prepare to exit one kind of life and enter another. I physically cannot bear to think about driving away from my dog. Because he doesn't understand, unlike everyone else in my family, I can't explain why I'm leaving or why I won't be there to take him on walks or to the lake anymore. 

It's not all sad. I must remember that. 

I must remember that. 

But I can't help thinking of the day to come. THE day. When I won't be able to emotionally, physically, or spiritually handle driving away with most of my things packed up. I try to make my heart a little harder each time I consider all I'm leaving behind. All the parts of me that are identified in Kansas are questioning me every minute I plan ahead for Arizona. 

All the dirt roads I walked, for years. The creek that leads the treeline along our backyard to a path my dad carved out for dirt bikes and little walks and a deer stand he now hunts from. 

M. Young Photography, The Path In My Back Woods

M. Young Photography, The Path In My Back Woods

I try to imagine what that day will be like, but don't want to live in that day before it comes. It'll spoil the two weeks I have left to stay in Kansas, my home of almost 20 years. 

It'll be excruciating, growth-producing, uncomfortable. But it'll be freeing in a way, too. It's always hard to exchange one thing for another, no matter what it is -pairs of shoes, blankets, cars, lifestyles. I'll miss my church. Pastor Clint and Zach who leads worship in a way that makes me stop worrying. 

I'll miss my family most of all. The country, our property that I looked at every day -whether through a window or out amongst it. But I can't be there anymore. I'm 26, and it's been time to leave for a while now. That's what a lot of people tell me. 

M. Young Photography, Intersection In Winter

M. Young Photography, Intersection In Winter

Many people will offer their input, their idea of normal. I lived at home for awhile, and had this image of myself looking over the edge of a nest...afraid to jump. -In a geographic way. I knew once I left, it would all change, and it could never go back which was a concept I didn't know how to deal with.

I'd left once before, for college, and it did something inside of me that damaged me. Most people have no idea what a person has gone through. But they will still tell you what to do, regardless. To all of these I say: I stayed home to heal. From a lot. 

Things happen in life that are unexpected. It doesn't matter what age you are. You don't have to explain your scars, your open wounds to anyone. So I guess the point of this is that you can have grace for yourself, from God. You can do things in your own time. And you don't have to beat yourself up about it, because you're beat up enough. You can take the jump when you're ready. Or you can stay where you are. And you will still be loved. Cherish, even. Held dearly. Do not be afraid of that. 

A Word to give you the peace that I'm with you in the suffering, taking joy in the highs and lows of whatever you have afflicting you: 

Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
— Ruth 1:16
The Winter Is The Spring, My Home In Kansas, Winter 2017

The Winter Is The Spring, My Home In Kansas, Winter 2017