I’m writing from the Miami airport today. Six months and six days after I began my German journey, it comes to a close.
I’m a whole tornado of emotions right now.
I visited my church for the last time, bade everyone I met farewell, stopped in once more at the hole-in-the-wall döner place (the owner of which always knew what I wanted), hopped onto a train, and that was it. I left the country. Now here I am with a few hours till I board the last flight of my adventure, and I have a lot of processing to do.
My last night in Bernau was everything that it should have been. My closest German friend came into town and we went swimming at the lake and got ice cream. Then we all had a barbecue (because I’m an American and that’s how we do in summer time) and the family gifted me with a gorgeous new fountain pen – the perfect gift for a writer, really. I walked my friend back to the station late that night (we had to hide in the tunnel between the platforms to avoid getting swept away by the wind and rain that was ravaging the place) and then I walked home, alone with Jesus and my thoughts.
Naturally I started to cry. Naturally I started to thank Him for things.
Thank You for this place and all of these people.
Thank You that even though this wasn’t as long as I planned, that I still learned so much.
Thank You for this weather (the storm had stopped by this point) and that I can walk home barefoot in the drizzle and still be warm.
Thank You for teaching me how to love myself.
For now I am certain, that was the entire reason behind why I left in the first place. Yes, I met people who moved me and I like to think that I moved some of them too. I learned a lot and tried new things and got to taste-test this kind of a life that I’ve always wanted. But above everything else, I learned to love me. Maybe not the way He does, but enough to know that I am good.
I am stubborn as an ass and He and I both know this very well. Certainly that’s why He had to disguise a mission for myself as a means of escapism. And I don’t at all believe that I needed to leave to get to this place in life – surely He could have done all the same work in the Springs had I been willing to listen to Him where I was. But I am so exceedingly thankful that He took me by the hand and led me to Bavaria. I am eternally changed because of it.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t heartbroken to be leaving. I met some incredible people and did some amazing things and Europe really amazes me. But I am confident now that wherever in the world I am (even if it’s not where I want to be) is good and right as long as He was the one who put me there.
To everyone I met on my adventure – I love you relentlessly. Thank you for taking me in and making me feel at home in a place where the language often sounded terrifying. Thank you for letting this crazy American dime piece into your hearts and your lives, holding my heart when it became a burden, and letting me touch you more than is probably normal in your culture. I leave a little piece of me behind everywhere that I go and I am beyond certain that a little piece of me is always going to be yours.
To everyone else who supported me along the way – I don’t even have words to express the depth of my gratitude. All of the messages and Skype dates and sweet notes and comments on posts and videos made me feel so incredibly loved and so aware of how richly blessed I am to have you. Thank you for praying for me, for fighting for me, for interceding on my behalf, and for always being there to listen when I needed to pour my heart out. Because of you I am able to cling to the promise that even when I am lonely, I am never alone.
To the One who brought me here – I could write for centuries to You about everything that You have done, and everything that I love You for. You have touched my heart in the deepest of places and made it impossible for me to ever run away. Thank You for pushing me past what I thought I was capable of. Thank You for showing me that my greatest plans are sheer rubbish in comparison to Yours. And thank You for always knowing what I need, even if it comes in a package that looks so very different from what I thought I wanted. You are the reason I sing. I love You.
And so, sweet loves, ends this season in the storybook of Charity’s life. To be honest, I have no idea what this next one is going to look like. But I think I like things better that way. As long as Yahweh guides my steps I know that I will always be at home. So I raise my (no longer alcoholic) glass to Germany and all of its inhabitants. Here’s to the end of this chapter.
And here’s to the beginning of the next.