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Because Leaving and Arriving are Sometimes the Same

July 12, 2011

I’m leaving for a little while.

Leaving the small town with no stoplight.  Leaving the cluster of the post office and fire station and town hall that I pass during a late afternoon run.  I’m leaving the moisture that constantly sticks onto my skin no matter where I go or what I do.  Leaving the constant hum of our window air conditioner that, no matter how hard it works, can barely cool off our apartment.  I’m leaving the place that represents the chaos and the stress and the responsibility, while at the same time being the place that welcomes me with friends and a life partner and a greater calling.

I’m leaving the warmth of my own kitchen.  The laughter shared with my husband between chops and sizzles and food falling on the floor.  I’m leaving nights out with girlfriends, filled with laughter, with the sisters I’m sure God gave me in another lifetime.  I’m leaving the smell of salt from the ocean that occasionally wafts its way inland with a strong enough breeze.  Thank God for those kinds of strong summer breezes.

I’m leaving all this for a little while.  I get excited to leave.  It’s the chance to shift the pace, take a deep breath, and reconnect.  I tell people I’m leaving.  But at the same time, in the very same sentence, I also tell them I’m arriving.  I’m arriving home.  I’m leaving a home to arrive at another.

I’m arriving for a little while.

I’m arriving to mountains and dry heat and an air so thin that it winds you going up the stairs.  I’m arriving to a place where all the scattered little pieces of me come together and create a whole.  I’m arriving to my mom’s cooking, my two crazy labs that will inevitably scratch my thighs when they jump up on me, to the place that holds my entire life’s history.  I’m arriving to hikes and plains and sunsets so beautiful my body can physically ache when I watch them.  I’m arriving home.

I don’t think it matters how old I am, or how long I have been away.  As I leave the home of the East, I will always, always feel like I am arriving to my real home of the West.  I leave one sense of love to arrive at another.  But in due time, I will be ready to reverse the cycle.  I’ll be ready to leave the place I arrived, in order to arrive at the place I left.  The verbs are not so different in my mind anymore.  No matter whose arms I leave, I will arrive to someone else’s.  No matter which home I have left, there will be another awaiting my arrival.  This is truly the mark of a blessed life – to be able to say that no matter where you go, you will leave and arrive at love.


Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colours
which it passes to a row of ancient trees.
You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you,
one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth,

leaving you, not really belonging to either,
not so helplessly dark as that house that is silent,
not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing
that turns to a star each night and climbs –

leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)
your own life, timid and standing high and growing,
so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,
one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

(Trans. by Robert Bly in, The Soul is Her for Its Own Joy)

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 12, 2011 1:26 pm

    Gorgeous post! This is always how I feel when I leave my Utah home for my New Mexico home.

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