Sometimes peace comes unexpectedly.
It does that a lot, I think.
Sometimes it comes in rough roads and in painful paths.
It comes in wrong turns and in decisions gone bad.
And when we would lift our hands in despair and sigh in hopelessness, it sneaks in and beautifully washes all anxiety away.
It renews our spirits.
I like to call it Grace.
And if we allow it, it makes every moment beautiful.
It scrapes up our broken pieces and places them perfectly back together.
They may not go together quite as they were before, or even as we thought they might, but they do go together....and they end up more beautiful than we could ever have imagined.
I'm reminded of that, lately...glaringly so.
And in the midst of quite the emotional week, I find myself thankful for the painful.
I find myself thankful for the transition and the sad goodbyes...for the rooms emptied by moving trucks and for the farewell dinners.
They hurt, you know.
And sometimes my chest feels like it's about to explode.
But I'm forcing myself to b r e a t h e.
I think about friendships formed during my time here...those I'll soon have to leave.
I think about friends become family - who genuinely care about the welfare of my heart
and my lifeguard "fathers" who look at me with tears in their eyes and tell me that they will miss me. I'm struck - standing under another Iwakuni sunset on my last day at work - by their pleas for me to return to Japan and the promise that "there will be many people waiting for (me) to return"
And I'm not sure I have words for it all....other than that I'm immensely thankful.
I'm thankful I forced myself to breathe.
It's the strangest thing, but adjacent to all the sadness and tears, I've discovered an unquenchable joy...an unexpected peace.
Because I realize that heart-aching goodbyes are blessings in disguise.
They are products of deeply rooted friendships and vulnerable hearts.
And I realize the heart is capable of loving more than we think.
I realize that empty rooms are good things.
Sometimes we need the simplicity.
And coffee in styrofoam cups can be good. It forces one to focus on flavor;)
Instead of looking at things around me with sadness at leaving them,
I find myself thankful that I was even able to see them.
And I see God at work even in the mundane things.
I'm thankful for rough roads and for unexpected peace.
I'm in awe of undeserved grace.
And I realize that moving from this place is good, too.
Seasons must change.
The Lord's plans are much larger than mine.
And He always gives us the desires of our hearts - even if they aren't what we thought they were.