Leaving it All Behind

This week I’m remembering my solo journey to Michigan. Right before that trip, we’d had a stressful move from our home of twenty years in the country to our downsized house in a neighborhood in town. The negotiations of selling our home and buying the new one came at the end of my year as a school nurse, that hectic period from mid-May to the beginning of June. By the time the moving company drove away, I was exhausted.

What reminded me of that move was starting into my yearly project of clearing out, of de-cluttering my home and attempting my belated spring cleaning. That summer four years ago when we moved in, we could hardly walk around our house for all the packed boxes. I’d decided during the winter that I wanted to go to Michigan– a place I’d never been but yet it seemed familiar from hearing about it from several coworkers. In the cold of winter, I’d thought a long road trip to a cooler-than-North Carolina-climate in July would be fun. I’d contacted my cousin in Toledo to say I’d stop by for a visit, but with my tiredness from the move, inertia set in. I looked about my house at all that needed to be done and thought taking a trip seemed unreasonable.

How can I leave this mess and go on a journey, I asked myself.

I told my friend, Paula that I was considering cancelling my plan, that I didn’t think I had the energy to pull a trip together.

“You have to go,” Paula said. “That’s what you do.”

I trusted her wisdom because she’d been my friend since my first journey to Sedona. She’d seen how they impacted my life, and how sharing about how God used that time away had encouraged others.

A week before I had to take off for Michigan, I rushed to make reservations at the few hotels that were still available during peak season– since there were no hostels in those areas. I packed quickly and pulled CDs out of one of the boxes, choosing a random assortment for the road.

The morning I headed out with my bike on the back of my rental car, there was a terrible storm that seemed like the final barrier. Besides my tiredness from the move, I was more aware than usual of friends and acquaintances struggling with serious problems; a young man waiting for a bone marrow transplant and a young woman with advanced breast cancer; a father with an opiod addiction, a couple trying to free themselves from cocaine, a mid-life woman overusing her prescribed anxiety meds. Even the news coverage of people in distress after a recent plane crash in Asia seemed to be pressing down on me, feeling the weight of the world in my vulnerable state.

I realized I was bone tired and soul weary.

Driving slowly in the rain for almost an hour I was finally relieved to be out of it and able to pick up my speed, planning to make it to Charleston, West Virginia for my first night. I liked that during a road trip I could slowly release the people I left behind, the chores unfinished, the things I forgot to do. I prayed for the journey, the people and places that would be in my path, but I found it harder to let go than on previous trips. I thought a good night’s sleep would help, but I felt little relief the next morning.

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Dinner in Charleston, West Virginia

Driving out of Charleston, I looked at the small, frame houses that hugged the hillside, and wondered how the people who lived in those homes struggled. The ones that I’d been praying for who were dealing with substance abuse and cancer came to mind. I felt weighted down and put in a CD by Nicole C. Mullen, a contemporary Christian singer I hadn’t listened to in a while. Her words spoke to my heart when she sang in her soulful voice the song, “Come Unto Me” and the line “all who are weary bring the load you carry and I will give you rest.”

I need to let go of all this. I’m carrying more than I can bear.

Releasing tears washed down my face as I sang along. Her music was what I needed.

The road continued on into Ohio, through a valley of farms with barns and silos. The fields of corn were a verdant green and along the highway there was Queen Anne’s lace and a lavender wildflower I could’t name. My spirits improved as I felt the relief of laying down my burden.

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On the Road going toward Ohio

I needed to go on this journey to disentangle myself, I thought. I was suffocating under all those boxes in my home and there was no way to relax and be restored except to draw away for a while.

The journey proved to be very meaningful, visiting my cousin and exploring the new territory of Michigan. I was glad that I’d just taken off, that my rational mind had not won out with the things I should do.

And when I returned from my journey, I was rested and ready to make my house into my home.

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The Stunning Beauty of Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes

Find more of that Michigan trip in these previous posts:

Distant Cousins

Fog Gets in Your Eyes

Not Like Me

How About You?

Are there things you need to leave behind in order to get away to renew yourself?

How can you release what is weighing you down?

8 thoughts on “Leaving it All Behind

  1. Excellent word picture. That was a rejuvenating idea which paid off in the long run. Keep up the good writing!!! I look forward to your book signing in the not so far off future!! Big Sis

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Connie, Thank you for allowing us into your life. You tend to carry much inside, however, the action of sorting it all out is what captures the Heart. Your reflection of the small House out of Charleston is great as you sparked my thoughts to my Creedo: “Don’t let them see your pain. Become aware of theirs, Never fear for your Life”. The Michigan picture brought back memories of my younger days at Warren Dunes State Park. Thanks for the memories.
    John

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    • Hey John,
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your memories and your insights. It helps me to share what’s on the inside because when I hear my words I understand a little more of what I’m feeling. I hope by sharing in my writing, not to burden others but to let them know it’s okay to let go of it. We all walk a different but a common path.
      Enjoy those ‘younger days’ memories of Warren Dunes State Park. I bet it was wonderful!
      Best to you,
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Jann,
      Thanks, Jann. I’ve done it for so long now that I don’t think of myself as being brave. I think the desire to go is so great that it helps me overcome my fears. Plus, I trust in God and AAA roadside service!
      Best to you!
      Connie

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  3. Love this reminder to just let go of those things we might think are important and take time to enjoy the journey. I know that is something I am trying to do with the grandkids, not to care how dirty or messy things are but just take time to be present with them. They will only be little a short time.
    This also made me excited for our upcoming trip to Michigan. Will have to reflect together when we return.
    Love you and excited for your book release date coming soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Peggy,
    Thanks so much for reading and sharing. I’m seeing in my short 10 weeks as a Grandmother that they change so quickly. I’ll follow your example!
    Excited for you about your upcoming trip to Michigan. It will be fun to enjoy that experience together.
    Thanks for your encouragement for my writing and the memoir.
    Love you, too,
    Connie

    Like

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