Friday, April 26, 2013
This Too, Shall Pass - On Leaving Myanmar
Sometimes we make plans and hang our hopes on an unforeseen future - one we're committed to. One we're sure will, well ... go to plan.
Life doesn't usually dole out the expected, though. Or maybe it does, but not when we expect it to or in the exact way we thought it would. Plans that were written down get scratched out, revised, or completely torn-up. Destroyed.
You start again.
We have choices to make when we get a life-sized side swipe. Choices about how we're going to handle and respond to our dreams not quite unraveling the way we wanted them to. We can choose to stand in the middle of what's been lost and shrink down or stand-up. Neither is easy and I actually think there's a time for both.
There have been significant unexpected changes in my family. The changes mean that my daughter and I will no longer live in Myanmar after May when her school finishes. She and I will move back to the United States without her dad.
Family will get defined in a new way. There will be new labels: single mom; single; divorced/separated. Old labels will dwindle slowly and with difficulty: wife; family; expat. Plans of staying in Myanmar for at least a few more years: scratched out. New plans have to be made. It sometimes feels scary.
Yesterday, the moving company showed up to give a quote on how much it would cost to ship belongings back home. When the moving guy hands you a packet of information about their company and tells you they're free to put your things in boxes next week, it starts to get real. And it became clear that it's time to get real with you, too, and tell you what's happening.
There is a grieving that floods you when a hope, a plan, a dream is interrupted. Those feelings are real and they're OK.
Sometimes we edge our way to the side, find a little bit of raised ground - hope - to stand on, giving us the protection of a wider view, showing us what's going on.
If we can find that raised ground - perhaps even a fence - and look on both sides, we're able to straddle the realities of what is before us and what is to come. We can lovingly, gently, hold our grief in one hand while in the other, bless the future: the gifts of lessons learned, of growth, of moving forward. In silence, in solitude, we can listen to our hearts and hear the message it's trying to tell us:
It's going to be OK.
It's going to be OK.
It's going to be OK.
Because it will be OK. Maybe not in ten minutes. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe it will take longer than thought. It doesn't matter. There's no time limit, no scale to measure loss of any kind. It's a personal journey. We'll have moments of shrinking, then standing up.
I find the safest place on that raised bit of ground where I can look at both sides, with honesty. There's a reverence that can be offered to what is being grieved. You say thank you (even if it hurts). You see all of it, clearly (as clear as you can now), and bless it. You bless - equally - the hurts and the beauty of your memories ... and what you had hoped would become memories. That's where I find strength.
It's a time for letting go.
So, what about Becky in Burma? What about the eBook? Becky in Burma will still be here, even though I won't be. The eBook will carry on and hopefully serve as a useful resource for many of you moving here. I'll continue to offer support and try to help people as much as possible, too.
I will probably spend quite a bit of time talking about this middle-space of transition I'm currently in. Many of you are in similar situations - either also leaving Myanmar or about to move here. For those of us transitioning, we're in a bit of a no-man's land. We're not settled. Our feet are one place and our heads are often in another (just like I talked about in the first chapter of the eBook. Ironic, isn't it?).
Transitions are hard. I'll write honestly about my experiences with it: I'm sure a lot of us will relate to one another.
Transitions are messy and it's hard to keep things clear. When I'm experiencing or thinking about my future and the transition back to Washington State, I'll share that on my professional writing page, Becky Cavender. When I write about things specific to leaving Myanmar, I will write them here. This will help me try to find some clarity and sort through that ... mess. I'll give links in posts to other posts (if that makes sense).
This new journey will lead my daughter and I back to home, to family, to friends. There's joy in that. Equally, there's joy in the beautiful friendships we've made in Yangon. Lots of to be grateful for. Sadness, too. I will write more about that in the coming weeks, I'm sure.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks for being part of this hello/good-bye with me.
P.S. I have posted a similar version of this over here on Becky Cavender because I think that while Becky in Burma offers a good-bye/letting-go, Becky Cavender will be about starting over/new beginnings.