We’re flying home from Philly tonight. As this dark and quiet plane starts to settle down toward Montana, my thoughts are full of family left behind. It struck me during this visit how different we seem to the rest of Rob’s family (and maybe to lots of other friends and family, too). Along with the many exclamations of “wow,” “good luck,” and “really?”, many mentioned that they would never want to do what we’re doing.
Voyages into the unknown aren’t appealing to many people, when you get right down to it. That part doesn’t surprise or bother me. What does, though, is the fact that our less-than-normal desire to spend 2 years without a job, an itinerary or a destination incites worried heartache in our loved ones.
This trip made me appreciate the irony of our voyage — setting sail will reduce stress for us, but will increase stress for many of those left behind. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, my dad always said. And liberation comes with a price.
Today, the price was tears. We hugged goodbye Rob’s mom, step-dad, grandpa, brother, aunts, step-sisters, cousins. These hugs must last for at least a year, or — in most cases — several years. Sure, it’s hard to leave people behind. But it’s a lot harder to be left. Both take strength and faith. Being left also demands a sort of zen-like patience, as you must wait at the whim of impulsive explorers for word of safe passages.
Like anyone, I don’t like leaving those we love in tears. It’s been said that saltwater cures all, whether it’s tears, sweat or the sea. I bet I’ll need all 3 to get me through the coming changes. And I imagine our family will need a healthy dose of healing saltwater, too.