Leaving

By Cindy Koch

Well, that’s right. I’ve taken a long, lingering look over the last twenty years of marriage, and I’m actually going to go through with it. It’s been a long time coming, and I really can’t believe I’m brave enough to be doing this. This last month together, it has been an intense scramble of plans for this all to work out. But in one week—kids, minivan, dog, nice little neighborhood, cell phone, my favorite coffee cup—all of it will be left behind. I’m leaving.

Sometimes I imagine what it is that I will miss the most.  Will I regret silencing my favorite “once radio” Pandora station playing through my shabby white earbuds at the local coffee shop? Maybe I will long for the family bustle of the mad-hunger-rush during kid catered Taco-Tuesday lunches. Most probably it will be the sweet, unexpected kisses and tackle hugs before I walk out the front door, except those times I would have been back very shortly, and this time I won’t. I can’t dwell here very long. These are the moments when the tears well up and I rethink the whole matter. My mind is made up. In one week, I’m leaving.

I’m leaving the routine, the modern comforts, the safety of home for an adventure. But you know, I feel like I’ve done this before. Yes, it means leaving different things and changing the routine. It means meeting my fears and testing my trust outside of my comfort zone. It means diligent planning, but it also means finally shrugging off the unknowns and putting my foot to the trail. It’s scary, but it’s thrilling.

Almost twenty years ago, I remember setting foot in a warm little church in Capistrano Beach, CA. I had the equipment, the papers, the people, the whole thing planned and ready. As my dear friend Rachel helped me into my wedding dress, I remember imagining what I would miss the most as soon as I started the adventure set before me. Would it be my own bedroom where I had private access and didn’t have to share the closet? Maybe I would regret leaving behind pizza night with my dad.  But finally, when the steady march of the organ began, I looked forward to the front of the church, into the eyes of the rest of my adventures.

This upcoming adventure, hiking the John Muir Trail for 23 days with my husband away from all phones and computers and civilization, feels like something we’ve done before. Not at all that either of us has seen this incredible beauty waiting for us in the back country, and not that we’ve ever spent so much time away from modern refrigeration. But adventure is a hallmark of marriage. Leaving the safe routine that has protected us from each other. Meeting our fears and testing our trust outside of our comfort zone. It means diligent planning, but it also means finally shrugging off the unknowns and putting our foot to any trail, together.

So even though I’m leaving, I have left behind a few thoughts on the adventure of marriage to share with you over the next month. While I’m eating freeze dried meat on the trail every evening, I hope you will think of both Paul and me. Prayers for our health and safety are encouraged. I’m leaving, but God willing, we will be back for more adventures to come.

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