We read a book for work recently called The Emotionally Healthy Leader and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. The final chapter in the book is about endings and beginnings, and while it applies specifically to leaders in the church, the concepts in that chapter as a whole feel so relevant to my life right now. As the author discussed transitioning out of the senior pastor role in his church, I couldn’t help but reflect on my life and this current season.
For so long, I thought that endings and beginnings were back-to-back kinds of things. Something ended, and then and only then did something new begin. But I am learning right now that isn’t always how it works.
I know this because I am standing inside of an ending.
I know this because I am standing inside of a beginning.
If the old thing was blue and the new thing is yellow, where I am right now is green.
I had lunch with a dear friend yesterday, someone I meet with regularly but haven’t had a deeper conversation with in a month because of vacations an other life stuff. The first thing she asked me about was my transition to Texas and how I was feeling about it.
It felt good to be honest with her. I told her that right now, I’m so glad I started telling people a whole year in advance that I am leaving because I need to grieve this ending as I embrace the new beginning. The way I am wired, I need to process the many emotions I’m feeling right now.
I mean, I am beyond excited for what I see in front of me. So many opportunities that will open up, so many friendships to deepen, so much that God can and will do in and with my life.
But I can’t ignore the things I’m leaving behind. I mean, literally my whole life has been in the same small area. For the majority of my life, I’ve lived in the same county. At most, I’ve lived 120 miles away, and only for a few years. My friendships are here. All my good childhood memories and treasured friendships happened here. I earned three college degrees here. I wrote a book in this place. I got my first real job, and then my second, here. I because a big sister here. My family lives here. My dogs are here. Leaving here means leaving all of that behind, and I can’t lie — that is really hard for me.
So for now, I am saying out loud that this ending is also a beginning, and that it’s both exciting and joyful as well as hard and sad. I’m okay with it being both, and I am okay with God using the process to refine me.