The day I left my home on the east coast and moved west, my dad packed my car for me. He’s a highly experienced packer. I only had one request: the bicycle goes in first and then fit everything else around it.
Since I was leaving my home, my family, and everything familiar to me, I knew I’d need the comfort and the familiarity of riding. Maybe it could help with the transition. I love biking so much, I even enjoy the hills. The exhilaration of flying down the other side after pushing myself to the top is well worth the effort. Being in a new place meant all the roads were new, which meant every ride would be an exploration. I was looking forward to this part!
But if I was so excited about exploring new literal roads, why wasn’t I excited to explore metaphorical roads? Why wasn’t I excited to explore roads leading to a new job, to a new church, and to my boyfriend. All I could think about was the fact that these roads were leading me away from all that I knew.
A church which had watched me grow up.
A home where I could let my guard down because I belonged there.
Why can’t I see that these hills, which God has given me to climb, are worth it, too?
With the packing complete all that I had left to do was say goodbye. There was no reason to linger in the bittersweet. I was leaving the family I love to finally live near the man I love. Going from one long-distance relationship to another. All of my family was gathered around my parents’ back porch. I posed for pictures with my two young nephews, not knowing when I’d be seeing them next and not knowing what laid on the road ahead. The whites of my eyes were red, and it was hard to make eye contact with these people who I would miss the most. I was leaving the familiarity and comfort for a life of brand-new.
My dad gathered me in his arms and I looked up into his face. I saw that his eyes were red, too.
Three days before, when I said goodbye to my neighbors, I cried. Hard. Three cute little boys I babysat. I was heading back toward my apartment walking on a path through the trees when Liam, 7 years old, ran out to me in his pj’s.
“I guess I’ll see you never again.” His shoulders were slumped forward. He and his family are heading to the mission field, Lord willing. No more shadow puppets with my phone flashlight. No more ‘superfastnaked’, a “game” they loved to play which occurred when they got distracted between taking off their clothes and donning their pajamas.
Managing to hold it together, I saw this as a chance for some comforting theology. “Hey, if we both follow Jesus, we will see each other after He comes back and makes the world new again!”
“Up in heaven!”
“Yeah like he’s gonna make a new earth and Jesus’ followers will live on it!”
“We will come back to life?!”
“Yeah, you know how Jesus came back to life? That’ll happen to everyone who follows Jesus.”
“Wow, I didn’t know we are gonna come back to life!”
“I’m gonna give you another hug.” As Liam ran over to me, I was dumb-founded by the change. He just accepted the truth I told him, even though it was the first time he’d ever realized it.And it caused him to feel relieved. His shoulders weren’t slumped forward anymore. He knew there was hope in my words.
Do I believe my own words?
“See you later, buddy!”
As I turned away to the covering of the trees, Liam called out one last time, “See you when the world is new again!” My face could no longer dam the emotions and they overflowed.
How could I have joy like that in the face of change and the unknown?
The last time I saw my family, Dad led us to our Heavenly Father in prayer.
I got into my car and drove away. With every minute, I was farther and farther away from the life and comfort I knew. Every mile brought new sights. New everything.
When I drove into the driveway of my new home, I was greeted by welcoming arms. As we unpacked my car, and I reassembled my bike, I thought about how I had a habit of using it as an escape from the difficulties of life.
Do I really need to do that?
Do I really need to escape in a world where a loving Heavenly Father has a good purpose for my life and everything in the cosmos?
Little Liam’s hug reminded me that I could have joy now. Because of Jesus. Even in the face of uncertainty. The pain of the unknown in this sin-cursed world will be undone in the recreation of the Heavens and the Earth. There’s comfort now knowing that the future is in good hands.
My father’s hug reminded me that God the Father cares. He sees and He feels. I could move miles away from my dad, but I would never be away from God. I don’t need to wait two weeks of quarantine to visit him. I don’t need to stay socially distanced from him. His powerful arms are around me as I walk down these new roads.
I can face any new thing as I keep facing Him.
I don’t need to keep focused on my pain, staring down at the ground as I pedal. I don’t need to keep so focused on the difficulty in the next steps that I lose sight of the bigger picture. God is bringing together this amazing landscape of a story all around me. Look up! Look around and see!
New colors. New strokes. New everything.
Imagine living with this new-found confidence! Thinking about the strange and uncertain path ahead would become exciting! These strange hills and ups and downs of life can be seen with new eyes: there’s major pay-off ahead. God gives me the strength to push on so I would experience the joy at the top. Even joy in the climb.
I wheeled my bike out of the garage where it now lives and buckled my helmet. I looked down at my phone and started my app to record the trip-and what a trip it would be.
Breanne is a native of New Brunswick, Canada who recently moved to brave life in Ontario. She loves everything outdoors including cycling, hiking, and kayaking. Breanne is passionate about teaching (especially children who need a little extra love and attention) and learning. You can follow Breanne’s poetry account on instagram @scen.ic.route and you can find her blog here!