Insight can come to us at the strangest times. Like while watching a cartoon with a 7-year-old you’re babysitting.
That’s what happened to me last Friday, when I finally understood one of the things that has eluded me for more than a decade: why my father died.
Now, I don’t mean the reason he died (the obvious answer: because he was sick for 18 months. He died when I was 16). I mean the lessons I’m supposed to have learned from him dying.
I had been thinking a lot that week about how my relationships have changed this year, about who’s stepped up and who’s disappointed me and who will be there when I move to the other side of the world in January. And on that last thought, my fear has been that everyone will forget about me once I go. It’s probably one of the chief reasons I’ve put off moving abroad for this long. I’m scared of letting my old life go for fear that it won’t ever want me back.
My inner voice finally broke through to tell me I’ve already proven you can still care about someone when they’re not physically present. I’ve been doing that with my dad for years. So when I’m in Australia or anywhere else in the world, I can carry the people I love with me (and vice versa). And I think I’ve finally weeded out the people who would forget about me or not understand my need to do this.
Enter Lesson No. 2: By going to Australia, I am showing that I can live with an open and honest heart despite having suffered a devastating loss at a young age. For a long time, I threw up walls around me and dared people to break through them. One brick at a time, I’ve been tearing them down myself. You can’t be afraid of life and people and growing and learning and experiencing just because you’ve been hurt.
Those realizations have convinced me that I’m ready to venture down this next part of my path. They’ve also made me believe that I’ve made peace with some of the hard things that have happened. I no longer view them as handicaps. They’re now part of the graceful strength and courage I will use to chase after the life I’ve been dreaming of.