I’m now less than two months away from the beginning of my Peace Corps service in Namibia. Even with all I’ve done so far to prepare, it’s impossible for me to truly put this reality into perspective, whether for the interested reader or simply for myself. My feelings are a mixed bag in many ways to say the least – the more I learn about Namibia and its people, the more excited I am to meet my future friends and colleagues. But this is of course tempered by the emptiness I sometimes feel – the feelings that arise when I imagine what I may be missing.
And there is no shortage on what I’ll be missing. Imagine – 2 years away from everything you’ve ever known. No basketball at Chapel Park. No game nights that last into the earliest hours of morning. No karaoke with friends who have grown both incrementally crazier and more heroic with each passing year. I will miss Natalie’s graduation – potentially 2 graduations – and will postpone our marriage for over 2 years. My campouts and hikes will be under an unfamiliar sky. And the physical separation from those I love most will be greater than it has ever been in our lifetimes.
And yet, as I write this to you now, I write with only feelings of peace.
This peace comes from no strength of my own. Rather, it is from the miracle and blessing of those very people and places that I will miss the most. Not a day goes by where I do not marvel over the incredible adventure my life has been up to this point, and of the incredible support and guidance I have received over the years. Without fail, the people I have needed most have appeared to me, and through their kindness and friendship I have always come out a little stronger. I have come to feel that our lives, our dreams, our stories have become extensions of one another – that we are each other’s limbs and hearts – and that together our light can encompass the earth.
And so I leave the nest, but with wings nourished and made strong by those who have made this soil home. Hearts who have made this flight possible. Minds who have challenged me and challenge me, and push me ever onward into the sky.
And with them under wing – with that spirit as the wind at my back – where there was once fear there is only love. Where there was once uncertainty there is only love. Where there was regret or sadness or doubt or anxiety there is only love.
Earlier I wrote that I will sleep under an unfamiliar sky, but this is false. There is only one sky, by definition a familiar sky, and family is its root. That is what this journey is about. That is what all journeys are about – flying together – one family – one story.
And I am humbled to fly with you.