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Sunday will mark the end of my internship at the church I’ve been assigned for the last year.  I will have completed four years of seminary (I started part time, so as far as the seminary is concerned I’ve completed three years).  I have one year of classes.  Actually I have two semesters.  I graduate on May 19, 2017.  That’s not too far away.  We’re in countdown mode here in the Best household.

The end of the internship means that we move.  We move back to our home.  We’ve been packing all week in preparation.  We have mixed emotions.  We’re excited to get back to our home – the home we left just over two years ago.  We are excited to be in the daily lives of family and friends that we left two years ago.

We’re also a little anxious about it – we left two years ago.  A great deal has changed in that time.  We’ve changed.  They’ve changed.  The world has changed.  We don’t know what to expect.  We do know that it won’t be just like it was when we left.  It can’t.  It never is.

We’re also a bit sad.  We’ve experienced this before.  We felt the same way when we left Finland last year.  We are sad to leave a place that we’ve called home for a year.  We’re sad to leave the friends we have made along the way this year. We’re sad to make the kids move yet again and have to establish and re-establish new friendships all over again.

But we knew this was deal when we signed up.

We’re also feeling a bit of something else.  We feel the closeness to the end of this journey of seminary.  By March we’ll know what region and synod we’re being assigned to.  Will it be our home synod?  Will it be the synod we’ve been in for the last year?  Will it be somewhere else that we have never thought of?  We don’t know.  The whole journey of seminary is full of great big giant question marks.  Going through this process is not for everyone.  You get comfortable with not being in control, with only knowing what the next year holds.  I think it’s actually a grace that seminarians experience.  When we don’t know, we turn to the one who does – God.  We are given faith to trust that God has our best interest in mind and will send us where we need to be at any given time.  It’s a leap of faith.  It’s also scary.  Yet here we are, following a path where I can’t see very far down the road.

Moving on is not easy.  It can wear you down.

Moving on is not easy.  But there are benefits.  Benefits like figuring out that we have a lot of stuff that we can get rid of.  For the last two years we have had to live in small spaces.  Which means you make decisions about what is truly important to keep.  We’ve found that the prints and pictures that we have are some of the most valuable things we possess – they remind us of our times in the locations we have been.  They remind us of the people we have gotten to know.  They remind us of how small the world is.  They remind us to pray for the people in these locations.

Moving on is not easy.  But it’s what we are called to do this weekend.

We’ll start unpacking on Sunday, arranging our house.  We’ll familiarize ourselves with our house.  We’ll re-establish long time relationships in person.  We’ll settle in to a routine in a short while.  There will be a new normal for us.  Then again, some of the old normal will stay with us – the normal of recognizing that we aren’t ultimately in control.  And we’ll take comfort in the trust that we have, in the faith we have been given.

Moving on is not easy.  But it’s what makes up life.  There’s a popular saying that the purpose of life is to be happy.  I don’t agree.  Think that’s a bunch of BS.  The purpose of life is to experience as much as possible and to be who we are called to be.  If all we pursue if happiness, then we miss out on so much of what life has to offer.  We should experience the “bad” things too.  We should experience sadness, anger, sorrow, pain, and more.  Not because they are enjoyable, but because they remind us of what and who are truly important in life.  And yes, we should experience the “good” things of life too.  They make life enjoyable.

Moving on is not easy.  But it is an important part of life.  And I wouldn’t have it any of way.

To the good people of Duncansville, Hollidaysburg, and Altoona, Pennsylvania I say thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I do not say goodbye, because goodbye means we’ll never meet again – and we can’t be certain about that.  We don’t know what the future holds.  Thank you for allowing our family to be a part of your lives – through the good, the bad, and the ugly.  You’ve blessed us in ways you can’t imagine.  We’ll take that with us as we continue our journey.  We hope you’ll take the blessings we have given you in your journey.  Thank you, until we meet again.