letting go

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Letting Go and Moving to Somalia, Part 2

Quick link: When Letting Go is Right But Still Breaks Your Heart

When Letting Go is Right But Still Breaks Your Heart is the follow-up piece to When Letting Go Means Leaning into Mystery.


This has been rather an emotional week for my essays. Two days in a row (yesterday: The Things Teenagers Leave Behind) about boarding school and some of the hardest choices we’ve made over the years? I didn’t plan it that way, timing is up to my editors. But maybe it is appropriate. My grandmother passed away last Friday and my camera and lenses were stolen on Saturday. This is a week of being wrung out through life and my own words.

This was another challenging piece to write. Not only because some of these things happened long ago but because they are dear to my heart, so much a part of our family and our identity, and because I know not all our choices look normal, right, or even healthy to some.

This essay is about an almost-serious accident our first day in Somalia, about our emergency evacuation, about boarding school. It is about the times letting go is an accident, is forced upon us, and is something painful we choose. It is about relinquishing control and learning to trust.

Click here to read When Letting Go is Right But Still Breaks Your Heart

Moving into Mystery, Moving to Somalia

somalilandQuick link: When Letting Go Means Leaning into Mystery

Today I’m writing at Babble about when we moved to Somaliland in 2003. I have to say this post was hard to write. Emotionally challenging, to dig back all these layers of years and try to remember what it was like in the very beginning.

The year I moved to Somaliland from the Midwest was the year a long and painful process of letting gobegan. I let go all-of-a-sudden, the immediate abandonment of everything comfortable and familiar within the space of a 30-hour airplane flight. I am still letting go, more of a slipping and grasping, as over the last eleven years the full impact of that initial release sinks deeper.

I knew letting go with this drastic of a move would require changing many surface things – the way I dressed and spoke and spent my holidays. But I didn’t realize how those surface things are rooted deep, connected to my sense of identity, the way I viewed people in the developing world, my values, even my sense of humor. I didn’t realize that letting go of what I knew, to embrace mystery would happen every single day and that it would change me to the core.

I write about what I think faith is for, about the wild and terrifying expatriate life we’ve been trying to live for eleven years now, about the things I lost and the things I learned.

Click here to read the rest: When Letting Go Means Leaning into Mystery

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