“There ain’t no way you can hold onto something that wants to go, you understand? You can only love what you got while you got it.”
― Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie
A few years ago, a sweet friend of mine was preparing to move out of state – a decision she had tormented over for years. Each time she travelled out to where she now calls home, she felt a tug at her heart, a whisper that said, “There’s something here for you, and you’re missing out.”
She brushed it off as a passing whim, thinking, “How could I give up what I have – my community and friends, my church, my life that I love? This is just too good to leave behind…” So she continued her life as usual, and each time the tug came back to her heart, she would bury it again.
Eventually, after years of considering and denying, questioning and rejecting, the feeling was so strong she couldn’t ignore it anymore. She couldn’t explain why, but she was being called away from her life here.
It was heart-rending. She told me that the hardest part of the whole thing was the idea of leaving something so good.
This resonated with me at the time, because I was in a sort of transitional phase, wondering what the next season of my life would bring. Then she gave me a piece of wisdom that has since applied to my own life many times over, and which I have given away to my friends during their hard transition periods.
She told me basically what I’ve been told my whole life by parents, mentors, and leaders – that my actions affect everyone around me, and then some.
If I stubbornly occupy a place for fear of losing what I have, I'm not only cheating myself out of opportunities for change and growth and possibly better horizons, but I'm also keeping the person who is meant to replace me from living to their full potential in the season of life they're in.
If I don't go, they can't replace me. I become a clog in the wheel of change, keeping myself and others from taking new places and facing new challenges.
This resonated with me. I realized that I can’t hold onto things, circumstances, even people, only because they are good. They also have to be right.
It was this lesson that helped hold my resolve together as I branched out into the freelance world, leaving a job and co-workers that had blessed me in more ways than I will ever be able to count.
It continues to help my husband and I as we move from season to season in our shared life. What it doesn’t do is make change any easier, but it encourages us to move, to do hard things, and to resist stagnation.
I’m learning daily to embrace what life has for me in every season, be it one of good things or one of challenges, and I’m growing because of it.