An even more impressive reunion was getting together with Deb, an old high school friend that I hadn't seen in something like 38 years. We had reconnected on facebook and when I decided to vacation in Ontario, we made arrangements to get together. Amazingly, it wasn't awkward or uncomfortable after all these years and we could still relate on an emotional level.
As the day of my departure drew closer, I felt a cloud of gloom settling over me. I really didn't want to return to Alberta. It's truly challenging living so far from the people that mean the most to me. And who care about me the most. But my job is here, my house is here, and my cats were eagerly awaiting my return.
I had a difficult time saying goodbye. I could barely keep from crying on my flight home. And I have shed tears since then. Life is too short. We've already lost my brother and who knows how much longer any of us have with each other? I think maybe it's time to move back to Ontario.
I don't know if I'm being ridiculous or realistic. I had one job interview already and the starting salary would be about $20,000 less per year than I'm making now. I did not continue to pursue that opportunity... And it's a lot of work and hassle to move across the country. I'll need to sell my house. Packing - ugh! And I'll have to figure out how to transport my cats from here to there with the least amount of trauma. Do I need the added stress of a major move at this point in my life? It's not an easy decision to make. There are a lot of things that need to come together: a job with a salary I can live on, sell my house here, buy a new home there, how to move everything, what to take with me and what to sell. It gives me a headache just thinking about it. I get to the point where I'm almost ready to say, "It's just too much trouble." But then I remember how much it hurt to say goodbye. I think of how awesome it would be to be able to just drop in and visit one of my sisters. And even the ones that don't live in Ontario - I will see them more frequently living there than living in Alberta. I miss them. And I miss Ontario. I miss the fall colours, the milder climate, the Great Lakes, lots of fresh produce at farmers' markets, being able to purchaseapples direct from the orchard and lots more... It's an awesome place.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not faulting Alberta. Alberta's been good to me. I have an awesome job, a beautiful house... I just miss home and the people there. So, will I go back? I don't know yet. Only time will tell. I'm certainly praying about it.
Sometimes I do worry if moving back home will live up to my expectations. Will it be everything I've hoped and dreamed? I don't expect it to be perfect, but I don't want to be disappointed either. Would it be possible that, after moving home, I would long for Alberta? I can't even begin to imagine that being possible.
A few years ago, my nephew, James, and his wife moved back. They don't harbour the slightest regret about the move. My friend Wendy is happy to be home and she lived in Alberta much longer than I did. The only reluctance I heard expressed was by my nephew Andrew, who moved back a few months ago. He has yet to find a full-time job, so that's probably a factor. Me? I might feel some slight regret in the middle of a hot, humid July day. :-) But as I head into another long and severe Alberta winter, Ontario's humidity doesn't seem so terrible after all.
But there are a lot of hurdles ahead of me and my hopes may never come to fruition.
However, I have a more certain hope, known in the Bible as the blessed hope: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13. Jesus promised - repeatedly - that He would come again. And it will happen, because He "cannot lie." Titus 1:2. Then He will raise to life His faithful people who have died - my Mom and Dad and brother - and together with his living followers, He will take us all to heaven. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17. What a grand reunion day that will be! Oh, how I long for that day when I never have to say goodbye again! "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4.
My dreams to return to Ontario may never materialize. I may have to continue the long distance visits with the painful goodbyes. Things just don't always work out the way we'd hoped. But only my personal choice will keep me from realizing the Blessed Hope of going home with Jesus and never having to part from my loved ones again. And heaven will be much better than Ontario! "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9. It's going to be awesome!
It's Headed Straight Towards You!