This is harder I thought it would be. My heart and my head know that this chapter of my life is ending, there is no doubt. As the lights turned off my heart sank in sadness and my eyes welled up. This really is ending.
For so long I have been driven to this place, the stories, the people, the brokenness. I see a country overcoming a history of being trampled upon to becoming an equal among greats. This place is so different now, yet very much the same. You can find Oreos now, but the toilet paper is still like sandpaper. When crossing the border my blue passport used to give me an advantage, now I stand in line with the rest of the world as Europeans whizz by. Coalmines have closed, shopping malls built in their place. Sometimes I hardly believe this is the same place I stepped foot eight years ago. So much has changed…I have changed.
I met a young boy tonight. He walked with a crutch and tried to impress me with his knowledge of English swear words. I could tell he longed for affirmation, a man to come into his life and guide him. I learned that he is a gifted musician, if you believe that one can be gifted in rap. I heard a song he wrote, and sung about his life. About his anger toward his abusive father. About the belt he and his mother were beaten with. Heart wrenching. He now lives with a foster family.
“What is this place!?!” My head screamed. Why is there so much brokenness? Why is it so hard to fix? Why now, is my chapter here ending?
In so many ways the last two weeks of closure have been affirming that my time, this season is changing. The next one is just beginning and I have no idea what it holds. I did not know how I would feel returning to Poland, other than knowing I am here to say goodbye. Some moments it is easy, I have missed being away from my fiancé so much and cannot wait to get home. But others, like tonight when I realize that I may never step foot in “the Club” again. And next time I am here, there will be many things I do not recognize.
There are moments when I look at a friend’s face, the world turns hazy and I know deep in my heart that I will miss them. I will miss the sound of little children playing. I will miss seeing them all bundled up, even when its warm outside. I will miss shaking every man’s hand and kissing every woman on the cheek when the arrive. I will miss the slow paced culture and feeling no pressure when I sit down to coffee with a friend. I will miss the little flower markets and Babcias selling vegetables on the street corners. I will miss the friendships I have built and knowing that they are praying for me.
I am going to miss this place.
In the same moments when my heart sinks in sadness it is also surging forward in confidence. Next time, Lord willing, I am in Poland…I will not be alone. I am so excited for this next chapter to begin, to settle in as his wife. Wife, wow, I cannot believe I am almost one of those.
I know that the next chapter is just beginning, but I am a little nervous too. It is unknown, and like on Christmas morning there are so many gifts awaiting you. It is exciting and overwhelming. I force myself forward unsure of the unknown all the while knowing I have to find out.
As much as it pains my heart to let go of the known, and shelf a piece of my identity, I know that my “home” is Denver. For the first time in my life I feel like a foreigner in Poland, outside of my homeland. The unknown is exciting and nerve wrecking but it is the next adventure waiting for me.
Alongside my best friend, in a city I thought I would never live…my own backyard.
Poland, you are beautiful and I love you so much. Thank you for teaching me about people different from myself, and how to love out of the depths of my heart. Without you I would still be my old self, but somehow you were a place where I found God and He made me more like him. I know I will never fully understand my place in your land, or your affect on me until heaven, but thank you for being a firm rock in my life, a place I always felt welcome. You were exactly what I needed during this season. You helped prepare me for this next one. I will miss you often and I cannot wait to introduce my husband and children to you one day. Leaving you is the hardest and easiest decision I have ever made.
I turn off the lights and lock the door behind me. A kiss on the cheek and a tear in my eye. “Do widzenia!” “Goodbye!”
I feel different somehow still the same. A smile creeps to my face because tomorrow
I will be home.