A Constant State of Goodbye

If you were to ask me one month ago what I thought the rest of the year held for me, I probably would have responded something like this: 

"Well, I have a vacation planned to Michigan to finish out the month of August. Things at work will be winding down from busy season, so a lot of being proactive and planning on that end. A lot of the same ol' same ol'. Maybe go to Colorado with Emily's family for Thanksgiving or something."

But how I am responding now? 

I still went on my vacation to Michigan, but everything else is different. On August 3rd I was asked how I felt about spending 3 months in Istanbul, Turkey training the worship team at a local church there...wait, what? All of a sudden I am debating in my head whether I want to drop everything and move halfway around the world. 

So of course I said yes.

I quit my job and started getting my things in order. Everything happened so fast that it was not truly public knowledge until a week and a half before I was set to leave. 

It all seemed to work perfectly though (as the Lord's timing always does) my vacation to Michigan with some of my closest friends in the world would serve as a perfect way to springboard me into Turkey. We had an absolute blast. We went to a Microbrew and Music festival, swam in a freezing lake, spent a day at the Shedd Aquarium, played in the City Museum in St. Louis, shared a couple meals with my mom, and before I knew it we were back in Oklahoma City and my weekend was full of coffee meetings, meals with friends, laundry, and so many other things to fill up my check list until I would jump on my plane. 

In the midst of hitting 6 cities in the course of 12 days (7 if you want to include Istanbul) there were a lot of hellos, but just as many, if not more, goodbyes. My roommate Liam said it best when he said, "We were doing so much everywhere we went, that it just seemed like we were always saying goodbye to something or someone." The goodbyes would come to a stop for Liam, Ezra, and Ariella, but they were just getting started for me. 

It's a radical feeling telling someone, "I'll see you in December" when it's August; the weekend was filled with lots of lasts (at least for 3 months). My last time eating chips and queso, my last Dr. Pepper, my last trip to Cuppies and Joe, last trip to the corner booth at Braums, last Sunday at Bridgeway, last night in my bed, last kiss with Emily... I have been having all the feelings...

Driving home from my surprise going away party last night, Emily looked at me and asked how I felt. I chuckled and said, "Awesome. And Awful."

I have felt such love by all my family and friends since the announcement of me making this journey and I am sad to leave them, but I am thrilled to be going on this adventure and pouring myself for the good of the Church. This will be one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but it will be one of the best. 

As my trusty sound guy, Bryan, told me last night, "You may be going by yourself, but you're definitely not going alone" (Sound guy wisdom is the best)

It's with that confidence that I'm sitting here waiting to board my flight, waiting for the adventure that awaits, knowing I'm covered, knowing that my goodbyes will very quickly be turning into hellos.