(In the flurry of the actual publication of my book, I have fallen dreadfully behind on blogging, so I apologize.)
I just wanted to muse briefly on what it means to be in transition. My last day of work is tomorrow and I’m leaving for school on Monday, and it’s hard to know whether to cling to the friends I’ve made and the experiences I’ve had this summer or to long for those ahead. The last few days have been overwhelming and stressful, partly because I’ve had very little alone time and the arduous packing process is still ahead, but mostly because I don’t know how to react to leaving this summer behind me.
All summer I knew that the things I was doing were temporary: I got a temporary job, met many people I do not expect to see ever again, worked on a book that is complete and I will not return to (at least not soon), and spent what might possibly be my last full months at home. At the beginning, I was fine with this. I felt like a stranger at the fast food restaurant where I worked, someone who was dipping in a toe and nothing more and who would pass on like a mist in a few months. But as the summer continued, that changed.
I’ve started to see how difficult it is for humans to be transient.
My sister Lindsey was talking about this in her blog, how her travels for the internship she was doing throughout Peru were too short, too uprooted. But I hadn’t really thought of how the same applies to me, working my summer job here in the town I grew up in. It was only when I started discovering the crazy amazing people I work with–when I began to realize there was depth to this transient place, that it was impossible to drag my toes through for more than a week or two and that I had somehow started swimming without knowing how I got there–that I realized how sad it is to be swimming in a lake you may never see again. Many people think fast food sounds unpleasant. But the people I’ve met, the experience of working with them and being caught in the same temporary lake–even in the mundane things like filling drinks and taking orders and pulping lemons, the things I’ve been doing alongside all the other workers this summer–has changed me, and I know I’ll actually miss it when it’s over.
The thing is, every place we are, every thing we do, every relationship we form on earth goes too quickly. I think of how Ecclesiastes mourns, “he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (3:11). We have this need for eternity, for relationships that will last forever, for places we can make a lasting home from. But it’s hard, because we never really get those on this earth. Things change too fast for us to drink it all in.
And here I am, almost reluctant to transition back to the place I hated to leave just three months ago. I thought going in that these few months would be insignificant and easily separable from the rest of my life, but obviously things are never that clean-cut. On earth, we are travelers. We leave bits of ourselves behind everywhere we go, and we will never find the eternal home we were looking for until we follow our eternal Father past the grave.