"How does it end," she asked.
"With ache," he answered.
At the beginning of the year, I chose a word. Not unlike so many others that oppose the commitment to real resolutions but like the thought of pushing forward into a new year with some focus, I joined the masses in owning one word that would guide my self discovery throughout the next twelve months.
And though I probably could not have selected a more appropriate word for this phase of my life, something about this process if ultimately flawed. There is so much we can't know about the future and thinking we can hold tight to one word is limiting, at best- and pompous, at worst. There are too many variables, too much that happens in life that rattles us and shakes us and changes us.
Sometimes, other words step in and own us. They take hold and embrace us and refuse to let us go until we surrender with a deep breath and dive in deep.
This year, ache chose me.
This week, I ended an era of my career. I said goodbye to kids, a staff, a school, and a community that I love with pieces of my heart too deep to truly even understand. I will be moving on from a family of people that have become a bedrock for me both professionally and personally. I am leaving some of the truest partners I have ever had. I will be moving to a new space, a new position, and a new chapter of my career come August.
In August almost no part of my life will be the same as it was twelve month prior. In my searching, I have changed almost every core aspect of my life. Situations, people, location, surroundings, and my heart have all changed.
And with all great shifts comes great ache.
As I push forward, there are moments of doubt and even greater moments of unhinging. There is also incredible strength and beauty in the process of becoming.
Searching + Ache = Becoming
Our stories do not end because we say goodbye. Our hearts to not shrink because we ache. Our experiences do not pause while we search for the true voices in our hearts. And our lives do not stop because there is pain.
Sometimes we have to stay. Sometimes we choose to go. In the end, the ache fertilizes the soil of our hearts where love can grow richer in the future.