Dear internets: I’m excited to share the news. On January 12th, I’m moving to Melbourne, Australia. For a girl.
Love is a big deal 🙂
We met at work. I was a new hire and she was exotic looking (my polite way of saying smoking hot). She had an Aussie accent so I asked if she was from England. She pretended to be deeply offended, and called me a “cheeky bugger!” … It was flirt at first sight.
I made sure to have a few questions for her every couple of days… and we had meetings… and mostly talked about work 😉 I finally got the courage to ask her out. We had sushi, and danced, and kissed outside on our very first date.
In Seattle, life slowed down when we were together. We wandered the west seattle farmers market and went swimming at the dock. We snuck wine onto the Bainbridge ferry, and watched the sun set from the boat. We went out with friends (her favorite) and stayed in for reading parties (mine). We shared incredible moments of good, struggled through painful moments of bad, and learned how to fight while holding hands. I’m thankful for her grace.
Last January, we spoke about her pursuing a job opportunity in Australia. To me, it couldn’t have been worse timing. We were becoming closer every day and neither of us wanted to be apart, especially 2,000 miles apart. At the time I was reading “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”. In it, Donald Miller (one of my favorite inspiring authors) writes “fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.” I was scared. I kept reading.
“I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought. They can’t see the distant shore anymore, and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their spouses, and they go looking for an easier story.”
In my most faithful moments I believe the words of Jeremiah 29:11, that the creator of this universe has crafted my story. My birth. My family. My loving and supportive parents and my hilarious siblings. My story–which was becoming Richenda and my story–was finally getting comfortable… and now this. I was angry that doors closed on her that I felt shouldn’t have, and I became angry at life, and I didn’t want her to leave. I didn’t want a new adventure. I simply wanted everything to stay the same and not be difficult or hard or heartbroken so I told God with colorful words.
“No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty desert and whisper sonnets under his breath… We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?
Richenda, one of the most generous things you said was that if it would be too hard for us to do long distance you’d find a job in Seattle–any job would do–and stay here. You’d sacrifice. For me.
Even though ever since you first learned about global poverty, you had wanted to work for World Vision Australia. You started a paper route so you could sponsor a child, when you were still a child yourself.
Even though you’d been away from your family and country for six years.
Even though this was an amazing opportunity that combined your greatest gifts with the world’s need.
Even though this was clearly part of your story, you were willing to sacrifice it for me. And as sweet as that is of you, I hope never again to cause you to hesitate chasing your destiny.
Our story moved forward from the laugher of late night phone calls and skype date nights. We counted days till vacation time, and poured our hearts out on emails. We reminded each other of our feelings on text messages (I didn’t do that so much at first, but we worked some of the communication things out). Friends and co-workers surrounded the two of us with encouragement and cheered us on. And the day came that “sacrificing” what I had here, wasn’t.
So it’s with great excitement that I am moving to be with my best friend. Excitement mixed with the sadness of moving even farther away from my family and friends, but confirmed knowing this is the story I’m supposed to be living.
Cheers to the future!