It was a grief I didn’t expect to feel. I could see everything I’d worked so hard for on the horizon but excitement was far from my mind. I smiled graciously as people applauded my accomplishment and feigned delight when people expressed their praise. But on the inside I felt...nothing. Numb.
It was all ending and truthfully I didn’t know what to feel. I had never known my God outside of this season. I had yet to experience Him from a place that wasn’t this time of brokenness, suffering, hardship and stress.
I am graduating. And I am grieving. The last three years have held the most challenging moments in my life to date. I experienced a heart break I never thought I’d recover from. I lost countless friends. I struggled to stay focused in school as I discovered my purpose in Christ . I almost froze to death (sort of) trying to survive Chicago winters. I was homesick more often than I’d like to admit. I even lost my grandmother and walked with friends as they too lost loved ones.
In each moment, I leaned on God. I relied on His presence. I let him wipe every tear and nourish my soul after every blow. I let Him pick up my chin when I felt like a failure and I danced with Him when I experienced moments of success.
We became close. Deeply intertwined. I wouldn’t dream of going a whole day without talking to the Father. He has been my peace in a time where serenity seemed to want to escape me.
I know the wilderness and I know the God of the wilderness. I know it better than the promise land. I met God here. And now it’s time to come out. And I’m grieving.
I didnt quite understand at first what that lack of excitement or anticipation was. But my pastor preached on grief and spoke about how every change brings a loss and every losss brings change. Everything is changing for me. And I am feeling the loss.
I’m letting go of the me I was in this wilderness. I’m letting go of the things that characterized this hard season. I’m leaving behind Law school and the reason I even came to this city. The chapter is closing and It’s time for this story to end. The end I’ve been praying for since it started. And it’s hard to understand why but I’m grieving it.
Not because I want to do it over because I promise I DO NOT. Once was enough. But because I don’t know what’s next. I know I’m healed and whole and better than I was when I got here. I know I’m FINALLY happy and content and internally thriving. I know what’s next is far better than what I am leaving behind. But it’s new. And new is always a little scary.
So before I celebrate, I grieve. I grieve to acknowledge that the hard yet familiar season is over. I grieve because what’s been my entire life for three years is over. I grieve because the me I was, is gone.
And when I’m ready, I’ll celebrate. I’ll celebrate the new me I became. The new opportunities that are presenting themselves. The Freedom, joy and explosive happiness I feel to begin again with new purpose and meaning. I’ll rejoice over The accomplishments I’ve had by the grace of God. I’ll celebrate that God is so faithful to begin a season on time and end it on time. I’ll bask in the new thing God is doing and I’ll learn new thing about this savior of mine I’ve come to love. I’ll soak up the fruit of this season and really ENJOY IT.
But for now, I’m grieving my wilderness. And this too, is okay. Because even hard, messy and complicated things can be hard to let go of.