Transition in Grace

I don’t do endings.

I never write to the last page of my journal. I tend to not end toxic relationships, instead choosing to be the one to stay far beyond reason and understanding, until they leave. Sometimes I stop reading a book I really love, putting it aside because…

I simply don’t ever want it to end.

Last fall, I enrolled in an intense 10-month counseling training program at the Interchange Counseling Institute. Having entered the experience with no idea of what to expect, I was at the end, the final weekend, standing stronger, more grounded in who I am, having fallen in love with my body and having opened myself up more than I knew was possible. Now all of that is well and good but it had to end.

Everything ends.

I entered the space with guard up having already begun retreating on an emotional level. My mind already half way gone, I positioned myself near the door and tensely waited for the end. I did not know it at the time but I longed for closure. If you would have asked me on Saturday if that was what I was hoping for I would have told you no. I would have said I was ready for it to be over, I was ready to move on to the next experience, the next thing. Sure, sure, it was life changing, and ground shifting, sending tremors through my life, changing me like no other experience ever has. I would have admitted that freely but I couldn’t have claimed my need for closure because I did not leave a crack wide enough to know what I truly needed.

But the funny thing is that my heart knew better.

It allowed me to look around at the room, at the faces that I have cried with and laughed with and felt incredibly awkward with. The arms that hugged and held me, the bodies that supported me, the smiles and genuineness that welcomed me in without reservation and much to my surprise I discovered that there is incredible power in fully embracing the experience when it is time to leave.

Early leave taking was, for me, about protecting myself from “the hurt.” Growing up as a military kid, there were always endings, someone was always moving and I did not have any way to transition with grace so I decided to not transition at all. I learned to retreat back into my own world before “the hurt” swallowed me whole.

I have not been swallowed whole but I have been made whole.

Yesterday’s ending was so incredibly lovely. My ever softening heart took in these beautiful faces I have grown to love as we appreciated each other one by one, as we held hands and hugged and full on acknowledged that what we had all had part in creating was at it’s natural and inevitable end. We did it and then it was simply over. We left the space together and had a group dinner, all of us happily wedged into this tiny Ethiopian restaurant, laughing, breaking bread and then one by one, people said their goodbyes and left and it was done.

The end.