Two years into this journey and I’m starting to forget all the goodbyes. Not the people themselves, but the goodbyes. There are some goodbyes that weigh on the soul more than others but they all leave their imprint.
In two short weeks we get to say Goodbye to our fellow Ranger family we’ve grown to know and love. I felt like I knew them before we even met them. We had lived in the same house they lived in at Lake Chelan, we had brought things with us to the new house that they had left behind at their old house. The enormous garden in Lake Chelan that I tried to tame, they had started. It’s like i’ve known this woman forever, yet its been less than a year. Parts of us are torn from the same cloth. We have the same struggles. But most importantly neither of us are good with the small talk. We dove straight into the hard stuff right off the bat. Which was both a relief and comforting.
Not only are we saying goodbye to friends but a dear Grandmother passed away this week back in the midwest. Such an amazing woman who made me feel so welcome and a part of the family right off the bat. The strange thing was that I knew her before. I worked with a woman at my first waistressing job down in Florida while attending college. I’ve never met anyones Doppelganger until her. They were exactly the same and to this day it makes me smile. Unable to make it back for the funeral we’re really having to find out how to deal with these things when they come up. My mind is still blank and fuzzy but hopefully someday I might have something to say on the matter of saying goodbye when you’re so far away. Right now, it’s just empty.
I’ve always hung on very closely to the quote “People come into your life for a Reason, A Season, or A Lifetime”. My lifetime list of people is incredibly short, my Seasons list is a handful, but my Reasons list goes on for days.
Goodbyes are never easy but that doesn’t mean they have to be incredibly hard or sad. Maybe I’m understanding the Buddhist more than I thought I was and their “The Root of suffering is attachment” theory. Nothing is ours in this lifetime. These people we become attached to are not ours. So rejoicing with them on their new adventure is what I choose to do rather than be consumed with sadness that they are leaving.
The first Ranger Wife who took me under her wing displayed so many characteristics I hope to grow into someday. She was filled with compassion and love and she let her guard down and people into her heart and home. Countless times. Then inevitably they’d move on and she would celebrate with them and cheer them forward. I’m sure she was sad, but she showed love and joy instead.
It’d be easier to close off. To stop letting herself get close to people because chances are they will only be around for a season. Literally. She was obviously in my life for a reason. A very big reason. To be open, and inviting. To see the world on a smaller scale and know that we’re all in this together and just because we don’t speak and may never see each other again means very little. Because we touched each others lives and made an imprint on our hearts.
When you imprint on a heart is doesn’t wash away with the next tide. It doesn’t fade over time in the sun. It doesn’t wilt in the heat. It’s forever.
My heart will never be too full, it will always have room for one more. And one more after that.
Our time in Chelan is quickly coming to a close. Just a few more days, a couple more boxes, a handful of strolls along the waters edge, and then we will be moving on.
Lake Chelan has been good to us. I don’t think we could have entered into this journey inside of a more perfect park. The Rangers and employees here have become like family to us and they did a wonderful job of showing us how a park should function underneath it’s skin. With bbqs and potlucks, bonfires and holidays. If we take one thing with us I hope it will be this facilitation of community inside the Park. Every Park is different. They all have different personalities and different voices, but one thing should remain constant: community. Community within the members running and caring for the Park.
I’ll never forget the day we pulled into Lake Chelan for the first time. The head Ranger came barreling towards us with a welcoming smile and a full tour of our home for the next year. We walked inside and a park aide was vacuuming up all of the deceased bugs around the fire place and wiping the spider webs out of the windows. There was even a toy train table waiting for the Juniors inside the garage, one that anther Rangers grandkids had out grown. We were greeted with cookies and we had help unloading our truck so we weren’t left doing it alone.
“This is what Rangers do” they said.
And that sealed our faith in this decision we’d made.
Outside of the Park everyone i’ve met here in Chelan has been oh-so kind and some incredibly generous. The people here are warm and you’ll receive a smile from just about any local you pass. It has been such an adjustment getting used to a small town but a year later i’ve settled into the town and have figured out it’s little quirks.
It has also been painfully isolating here as well. Most of the locals here are lifers and have a very close knit group of friends. They have their life they have shaped the way they want it and it is comfortable, they stick to it. Most places are like this i’m sure. But as an outsider coming in, i was in a position to see things under a new light.
Making friends as an adult is incredibly tricky. There is a fine line between being friendly and looking like a stalker. When you’re a child and you ask someone if they want to be your friend or if they want to come over and hang out…that’s normal. As an adult, it’s uncomfortable. There’s rules and social norms you must follow, there’s a courting period. It can be complicated.
I have yet to figure out how to break into the inner circles. As friendly as people are, getting into the circle of friends is something they keep sacred. Pass someone in a store? A friendly smile and a warm hello. Bump into someone on a playground? Friendly conversations exchanged and a goodbye. Want to be friends? I’m sorry, I already have friends.
The way news travels here, I wish I could tell you. I never fully figured that one out. It seemed that most kid friendly events I always heard about them a day late. I’d hear the radio announcing what a great time was had and how many people had shown up. A personal sting each time it happened twinged through me. Each time another layer of isolation would build up pushing us further and further outside the circles.
Through the feelings of isolation and many tears I did find a few people here to be added to my tribe and I am so blessed to have come across those people. If we’ve shared a meal together, a walk in nature, a conversation that digs deeper then the weather, then know that i consider you dear to me.
One of the toughest parts about this journey is the connections. Most people are passing through or we are the ones passing though.
People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
Real live Lifetime friends are extremely rare. If you’re blessed to have one you talk to and get to hang out with then hold those people close to your heart.
People that come into your life for reasons and seasons are the closest in my heart. I hold them so dear but their also the most painful. Someday I hope to perfect the art of letting go but I know i’m not there yet.
So we’re going to soak up the few days we have left in Sunny Chelan before we head over to the wet side. We have one foot in and one foot out right now and we are looking forward to digging into somewhere new, finding a new tribe, and forming a new community both inside and outside of the park.
It’s a weird feeling knowing all the ‘things’ you have left fit in the back of a pickup truck. I’ve spent the past 5 months purging, selling, donating items. In the past 24 hours I’ve filled up multiple trash bags full of other stuff to get rid of. When you think you are down to the bare necessities and can’t get rid if anything else, look again.
Me, two boys, and a pup are living out of a carryon suitcase for the next week. David’s parents came and loaded up the truck today and are headed up north right away trying to beat this storm that’s inevitably going to hit right in their driving path. The boys and I are grabbing a plane on Tuesday evening and will meet his parents up in Washington early next week.
What a wild ride. And to think…it’s only just begun.