The night before a move (and trust me, we’ve had many of them) Sean and I usually lay in bed, feeling a bit melancholy and wistful in the darkness. One of us finally states what we’re both thinking: “Well, tonight is our last night in the nursery.” The line, of course, comes from Peter Pan, when Wendy is informed by her frustrated father that it will be her last night in the nursery with her brothers and tomorrow she will have to Grow Up.
I can remember watching that movie as a child, and feeling the sharpness of that break. Tonight is comfort, and security, and familiarity—tomorrow is new, and unknown, and frightening. What I didn’t realize as a child was how often life involves leaving the nursery. I thought once was enough. You are a child, and then you Grow Up, and it’s over and done. The realization of my adult life is that you're never done growing up. We leap over a hurdle into a strange and new world. We learn to live in that world. We make it as cozy and as comfortable as we can, and often times hope we can stay in our protected little nest forever. And then, before you know it, it’s time for the next challenge!
I’m tempted to resent all the change, and the disruption, and the circumstances that call me forward. But what I have to do is to try to push it all aside and bury down deep into the true things of life. The truth is that the purpose of life is not to be comfortable. (Thank God for that. Comfort, at the end of the day, is really such a small thing to live for.) The point of life is a journey home, and a journey requires movement. We must fare forward when our time comes.
A quote that’s been helping me a lot lately comes from the painter, Georgia O’Keefe. She once remarked, “I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”
My instinct is usually to avoid the things that scare me, so I love this reminder that just because a thing is frightening doesn’t mean that’s a good reason not to do it. I also like the humanity of it. Fear is one of our most common experiences, but it’s something we often feel like we need to dismiss or ignore or hide away where no one can ever find out the truth about how terrified we are. It’s so much healthier to just admit the fear is there, but that it’s not the last word on who you are or what you're capable of.
So yes, I’m scared to leave the nursery once more, and venture out into the great wide world. But fearful is not the only thing I am. I’m also brave, and adventurous, and loved, and super excited for this trip that we’ve worked so hard to make a reality.
Tonight, the nursery. Tomorrow, we fly to London!