Tomorrow marks the start to a new chapter, an exciting season that has me bubbling over with joy and so much hope for what is ahead. When I wrote my blog post about loss the beginning of June, I was sitting in a coffee shop in Tacoma, Washingon the day before heading into Downtown Seattle for a job interview.
Let me be more specific, I was flown up by Seattle Pacific University as 1 of 2 finalists for a Residence Life Coordinator position (more commonly known as Resident Director, same job, fancier name). The whole process was a struggle for me for some reason, with each stage convincingly directing my emotions to be prepared to not be hired. Every time I got an email requesting more information, a phone interview, and then to be a finalist I was blown away. I figured being able to have a free flight to Seattle to see friends and family over a weekend, was an achievement in itself, not believing that I would actually receive a job offer with the way everything else has gone over the past almost 10 months.
The day went really well, and although SPU felt different than other schools I was familiar with, there was something refreshing about the environment and the staff and students I met that day. There was an authenticity that I appreciated and a willingness to acknowledge that the journey of shaping student life at the school is continuously in process and will be done together with humility and wisdom. It felt as if who I am and what I can offer would fit in with the movement of the university, and is really appreciated in this job role. Finishing the day eating an incredible dinner with part of the Residence Life staff at Stoneburner a hip restaurant in Ballard was the cherry on top.
Being in Seattle always feels comfortable and inviting. Having been born there and spending summers visiting family and my childhood friend Rachel, it has remained a place that also feels like home. On this trip to interview, it felt even more normal to be there. TJ was able to join me for part of the time, and with every close friend and family member we saw, there was overwhelming support, prayer, encouragement, and belief in us, and specifically in me.
Yet still, getting my hopes up wasn't an option, even after all of that.
10 long days later, I got a phone call that changed everything. They wanted to offer me the position. I refrained from asking if it was a prank call, and decided to wait for the email with all of the of paperwork to prove the validity of what I was hearing on the phone from the Director of Residence Life.
Reading some paperwork here, a signature there, and just like that our lives were headed a new direction (or in my mind, headed a direction).
It's been about a month and a half since that call, and tomorrow we pull away from beautiful Southern California gently closing the door behind us on this painful, transformative, and yet gracious season. Despite everything TJ and I have experienced, we have been met with so much love and support from those around us here. Being near my immediate family and our closest friends once again, having them speak and minister truth, hope, and kindness has been our lifeline in the midst of it all. I can't say thank you enough. We can't say thank you enough.
This time we leave Long Beach it feels like a different transition than before. Some of our friends have also made or are making transitions of their own to different parts of the country, or even out of the country. Some of our friends are staying in Southern California. With all of them, we do not know when we will see them again. There is not a time we will be back here next, and most likely our holidays will be spent in the Northwest. Luckily, my family comes through Seattle fairly often, meaning we will see them more regularly.
Thnking of starting over in a new physical location with a job that I am passionate about has been surreal. TJ and I meet this opportunity and adventure with joy and gratitude for God's care and grace in every step. We are thrilled.
However, I also am feeling a sense of sadness in once again leaving our community. Some of us have shared in meals, grieving, celebrations, breakups, marriages, multiple life changes, birthdays, trips, and living out fullness of life and brokenness in the most beautiful of ways. It hasn't been without its struggles, but to have traveled for so many years with people is difficult to leave behind. Others of us have shared life less frequently, but still so obviously marked with authenticity, love, and joy.
To each and every one of you who so generously loves TJ and I, who have prayed for us, cared for, and supported us in every way, thank you. All of you have been a tangible expression of the love of Christ in our lives, no matter how our paths crossed.
Looking back, especially reflecting on all of the treasured moments we have had since being here, saying goodbye isn't easy.
Looking ahead, excited for change and the unknown, feeling like this past season of loss truly is the seed of new life for us, we greet tomorrow with anticipation and expectation.
Looking inward, grateful for the gentleness with which I have been held by God and each of you, and the ways that I have been changed by these life experiences, I reach my heart out once more, both vulnerable and strong.
24 hours. See you soon Seattle. I believe you will be good to us.
As a sidenote: The following two songs off of the "YES!" album by Jason Mraz have been the soundtrack to my feelings in this transition. Also, interesting to me (in a really-not-that-important-but-still-kind-of-cool-sort-of-way) is that the title of the album is the title of my very first blog post this past March, exclamation point and all. Here is to saying, "YES!"