The Perfect Paradox of Goodbye
At nine o’clock on a Monday morning, I called my long-time friend and supervisor Marcus Goodyear. I needed to tell him. The time had come.
I had spent all weekend thinking, had made my decision, and my family supported my choice. It was both the hardest and easiest decision I’d made in a long time: to leave my position as Managing Editor of The High Calling.
Just writing those words has me in tears (again), because leaving is never simple. I always say, in fact, that “goodbye” is the most difficult word in the English language, at least for me.
So why bother saying it at all?
Even as I pose this question, I am overcome with memories of the launch of my writing career. Mere months before I received a contract for a debut book, I was crying too (sense a pattern?).
I was at an airport, on my way to my very first writer’s conference. I watched my girls press their noses against the glass in Departures, waving me on. I knew that if I smiled big, they would see my smile and feel a bit of Mommy-comfort. So I smiled a smile I did not feel, and I waved vigorously, and the tears rolled down, invisible to my children.
Now I am not invisible at all. I am crying in public. It is a little embarrassing, but it is important. After all, as a friend of mine once said to her daughter, if we leave a place and we cry, we know it meant something.
The High Calling has meant more than I can say. As I take this moment to recall the past five years, it feels like the saddest and the happiest thing—to think of all I helped build, to think of all that the experience built in me, to think of all that The High Calling is building in you.
So why leave?
Maybe you remember that quote from Anais Nin, the one about how the bud finally blooms when it becomes too painful not to bloom. To be poetic (also a pattern, if you know me), I am a bud, blooming, surrounded by a growing community that is also a bud, blooming. To stop that process would be to do a kind of damage.
Recently, I wrote about my ever-increasing involvement in the world of poetry. This is the place I am blooming. Some of my dreams are very sketchy; however, I deeply know I’m at an “airport” once again, being waved into a new world of words.
To share all my dreams would be premature for me, but I can say that they involve app development (I’m in the middle of that process right now), physical merchandising, and partnerships with third-world artists and artisans, to relieve suffering through the sharing of artistic beauty and business arrangements. We’ll see.
Making a transition is not an easy process. The plane stands on the runway, and our destination is not completely sure (even if we bought a precise ticket). The people at the Departures window wave us on, not sure either, about how they feel.
Me? I’m crying, of course. But I’m smiling too. It is the perfect paradox for a poet. Or maybe for anyone who sees his work as a creative endeavor that sometimes requires reinvention: new wineskins, if you will, for a new wine that can no longer wait to be poured.
Image by Julia. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Post by L. L. Barkat, the author of Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing, as well as two spiritual memoirs and a book of poetry.
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