"She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too..."
That quote is from one of my favorite movies, "Hope Floats." It is one of those movies that I watch almost every time I see that it is on TV AND I own it too! The funny thing is that it was one of the first thoughts that came to mind this afternoon as I was gathering my thoughts about leaving the one job I have had (in longer than I can remember) that I honestly and sincerely wanted to go to each day. If I didn't want to go it was only because I didn't want to go anywhere on that particular day and had nothing to do with my job, my boss, co-workers, etc. That is such a rare gift.
Sure it will be nice, in some small respects, to have a small break from the day to day but not so much in so many other ways. I wonder if I had an impact on those around me; if they saw Christ and not me; if I made "kingdom choices" as a professor encouraged us to do. So many thoughts swirling around in my head. At the end of the day as I was gathering my things and double checking to make sure I had everything I needed/wanted (since we leave the state on Monday so it's not quite as easy as just dropping in to pick something up) and it hit me that this is IT. The last everything for this moment in time. I am changed simply by having had these people in my life.
I had a co-worker and a couple of residents thank me for being me and sharing my faith without trying to change them. That meant so much to me! I know most of us will not have any idea about the impact that we have had on those we encounter in this life so sometimes it's good to get that sort of feedback.
On my way home tonight I stopped at Blockbuster. One of my resident's has been working there. He and I had a decent but somewhat challenging chat earlier today. He said, "So all done? For good?" To which I replied, "Yes, for good. I am just an ordinary person now." And that's when I thought about it even more. I was thinking about our identity in Christ and how we allow so many things to define us and in this case it was by the where I worked, the people I spent my time with and job I did. In many ways I felt like Superman did when his powers were zapped by cryptonite.
I write this with somewhat of a heavy heart tonight as I reflect on the time I spent there and think about those I leave behind. But like the quote suggests, sometimes it is important to focus on the middle and the good we allowed God to do through us all the while holding onto hope.
I am anxiously looking forward to what and where God will take us next. All I know for sure is that we plan/hope to leave Alaska on Monday and with that begins a new chapter.