So did driving downtown to Chicago this evening.
And happening to run into Claire outside of Moody! That felt wonderful and oddly normal. I didn't actually go downtown to see her tonight, but it didn't feel strange at all running into her.
Spying a decorated Christmas tree in the commons area at Moody delighted me and felt normal.
Tonight I'm feeling a myriad of emotions about that.
~ contentment: for precious time with our children, daughter-in-laws and new grandson;
~ appreciation: for how God took care of all the details to make this happen;
~ heartache: that it's almost over;
~ sadness: that I'll have to say goodbye soon;
~ peaceful: that it's time to go home.
It's hard to know how to reconcile those seemingly conflicted feelings. I have loved every moment of this time. And yet it's right that it's coming to an end. How can both of those be true? The Lord comforts me with this:
"Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it remains a single grain. But if it dies away in the ground, the grain is freed to spring up in a plant bearing many grains."
While I'd like to hold on to the "grain of wheat", I know it won't produce anything if I do. I must let go of what feels good, right and normal, like time hanging out with my kids, and let that die in order for God to "spring up a plant bearing many grains."
I don't know exactly what that plant will look like. But as in times past when He's asked me to relinquish the seed, I know He will take it, plant it, and bring about something that bears beautiful fruit because that's the way He works.
Knowing this doesn't make it easier to say goodbye. But it does give purpose to the goodbye.
I've got all day tomorrow to soak in the last of this special time, and then I fly home on Friday. May my tears that day (as I know they will come) be ones of joy for having been given such a gift to have been here for these weeks.