Tonight, I got to see snow fall for the first time in my 27 years, and best of all, my first snowfall was my baby niece’s first snowfall too, and yes, she probably won’t remember it, but to me it was special to share that experience with her. I loved watching her, her eyes big as she watched from the window. Even though it was forecast, most people said that it probably wouldn’t snow, but I clung to what the weather forecast said, I needed to see the snow. I needed to see the snow, because my time here in England is drawing to an end, and when that time comes, I would have been here just shy of one year, which means that I would have experienced all the seasons for the year, and for some reason it is important to me. The way England transitions from season to season is so graceful and it resonates so deeply with me. I have loved every season, I have loved how each one is so different but beautiful in their own way, unafraid to be themselves, unafraid to be unique, and for me it’s something I hope to learn from and practice in my own life as the seasons change within.
I am trying to be graceful as I head towards the next part of my journey – a dream is coming to life and I should be filled with joy, and sometimes I am, but I am also aware of what I am leaving behind, and I imagine this is hard for some people to understand as to why I am leaving a place I have grown to love. I think if things were different, I would have perhaps settled here for longer. I was transformed here, changes so deep, that to the naked eye there may be no difference, but I know for a fact, the person who got off the plane is nowhere near to the person getting on the plane to leave. The person leaving is still flawed, imperfect, and wonderfully human, but that person is healed. She is secure in Yahweh’s love for her, she is secure in herself, she is strong because she isn’t afraid of her weaknesses. No longer do they bind her or hold her back. The woman who got off the plane was always striving for perfection and for acceptance, begging for people to love her, to hear her and to see her, but also somehow wanting to remain invisible and hidden. The woman getting on the plane, however, isn’t afraid to be seen, knowing it is all for God’s glory anyway. She is still issue ridden and takes regular trips aboard the struggle bus, but she is unapologetically herself, and she believes a part of that is thanks to England.
I was completely removed from my comfort zone, removed from friends and family, removed from my profession, and it is because of all these factors that I ironically, was given the space to grow. Sometimes, the most normal situations aren’t always the most nurturing. I felt like I was surrounded by some people, ones that I have known for years and still care a lot about today, who decided who I was 5, 10, 20 years ago, and it became increasingly difficult to break out of that mold that they had placed me in. I wasn’t allowed to be different or to change, simply because of something that happened or something I had said many years before, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to break free…and so I did; and it all happened in England.
I also received the wonderful gift of reconnecting with my older sister. We were so different growing up, and I honestly think our relationship came to an end when I was about 16. We were always pitted against one another. Always told how vastly different we are. One told to be strong, never allowed to be weak; the other told to be weak, never allowed to be strong, and I think it proved too much for our relationship and so we stopped trying. Until 10 years later, when my sister gave birth to a precious baby girl, and the dynamics changed. Time apart, though it was so long, was needed. We needed to learn to be ourselves, the people we believed we were, and not who people said we were. I am so grateful that today our relationship is honestly the best it has ever been, and yes we are so different, but we are also the same and I celebrate the differences and the similarities, and this never would have happened if I didn’t come to England.
England, you have been so good to me. There have been good times, and bad times, and downright ugly times, but I am so grateful for the lessons learned. They are life lessons that I will carry with me always. Thank you for teaching me that people only have as much power over you as what you allow them. Thank you for bringing my sister and me back together. Thank you for the wonderful life lessons of graceful seasonal changes, I hold it close to my heart, and even though I don’t necessarily feel ready for the adventure that lies ahead, I know God was in complete control when He chose you to prepare me; and prepare me you have. England, you will be sorely missed.