I’ll never forget the day I left for college. A gaggle of us climbed into a big van and made our way up to PDX so I could board the plane for my big cross-country adventure to Grand Rapids, Michigan. The 90 minute drive felt like six hours that day, and boy were there tears. I kept trying to bring it back to the positive; It wasn’t like I would never come back home to Oregon!? There were phones back then or I could send some snail mail. You don’t get rid of me THAT easily!?
We finally arrived at the airport and hauled out the two giant suitcases filled with all of my worldy possessions (minus my hope chest and a prom dress or seven), and we made our way inside to the terminal. More tears. At some point, I couldn’t take it any more. I’d made jokes (complete with jazz hands I’m sure;) and reminisced stories of the glory days on Robinson Drive. I was fresh out of distractions for the unavoidable scene that was about to go down. The goodbye. Except I don’t even believe in that word. Growing up with family across the globe in Scotland, I had become used to tearful departures, and quite frankly wasn’t a huge fan. So on this scorching hot August day, I adjusted my big girl undies, turned to my Mom, and told her how this would go down. “Just like a bandaid, you’ve got to just RIP it off.” And that’s how I did it – a huge hug for each person who had made the trek to see me off, and then I walked on that plane. No looking back, no more tears. Except for the fact that I was BAWLING on the inside. Full on, ugly inner crying. I was terrified to be honest. I had NO idea how I was going to pull off this college gig – financially, emotionally, or even academically. But I was going to.
You see, I was all kinds of brave that day, because I had no other choice. I’d made up my mind that I was going to move far away for college so I could have a fresh start, so I could be challenged and grow, so I could step out of my comfort zone and “find myself.” Let me tell you – you find yourself when you’re all you have. You take all the lessons you’ve been given throughout life, and you learn to trust that inner voice. “You’ve got this.” Those were some of the toughest months (years even) of my life – there were times when I wanted to run home, but even that didn’t exist any more. The house that built me had been sold, and the dysfunction junction of Robinson Drive couldn’t even bring false comfort.
I’m not entirely sure if it’s life experience, or just the way that God built me, but the Bandaid approach is how I face most of life. When making a major decision, I tend to gather the information that I need, contemplate my options, then take the leap (just rip it off). I make the decision without even really looking back, and if it doesn’t work out it’s a lesson, not a failure that I dwell on (maybe won’t try THAT again;). When I set my mind on moving back to Oregon as an adult, it was the same thing – ninja focus, and figure it out. Leaving our friends and adopted family here in Michigan was much the same scene – we said “see you soon” as opposed to the dreaded “goodbye” and we faced the new adventure without having all the answers. Once again, I was terrified on the inside. There were tears that no one saw, but I was determined to chase my dreams (just rip it off).
Back in 1994 (wow THAT was a long time ago), I was brave for my Mom. Today, I rip the Bandaid off for my kids. I try to show them – it’s okay to feel the fear, but you must do it anyway. It doesn’t mean I don’t care, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel. It just means, I refuse to dwell in the sadness,or the loss of what I’m leaving behind. I’m trusting my inner voice, I’m resting in the peace that what lies ahead is far more amazing than I can even imagine. And that what is meant for me, will never pass me by. So the next time you are at a crossroad, I invite you to ponder your options. Then feel the fear, but do it anyway. Just rip the Bandaid off and trust, that whatever happens next, it will be amazing. You’ve got this. ❤