by Jan Stanton
In his book, Journey of the Heart: Reflections on Life’s Way, Gerhard Frost writes a thought-provoking essay about journeying (pp.12-13). He begins by saying, “Journeying begins with leaving.” I’ve read this essay a number of times, but it holds more meaning to me today. Over the past fifteen months or so, my husband, Rick, and I have been preparing for our retirement, and now as our dreams and plans have slowly taken shape, it is time for the next point of our journey. It is time to leave.
My leaving has already begun. This past month I left my longtime position as a chaplain at a Minneapolis nursing home. In a few weeks I will leave Minneapolis, where I’ve put down roots, invested in a long career, raised our son, and learned so very much about life, about living, and about myself. Rick and I are ready to begin our next chapter of life in Charleston, South Carolina, where we are building our new home.
In his essay Frost explains that the act of leaving can happen for one of two reasons. Sometimes leaving is necessary, caused by circumstances we cannot control; other times leaving is a response from a deep, internal yearning. It is this reason—an inner longing—that I make this significant change.
My leaving comes from a long-held yearning to experience the fullness of life in new ways. I leave for a desire to spend generous amounts of time outdoors, where I can run, walk, hike, and bike much of the year. I leave for a desire to be closer to our son, so that we can visit more frequently and spontaneously. I leave for a desire to rest, really rest, and to heal from the bumps and bruises of a busy life. I leave with the longing to delve more deeply into a reflective life that more time will hopefully offer. And I leave with the hope of continuing to be present to others, to hear their stories in whatever ways are offered and through whatever doors are opened.
And so in a few weeks, we will take the risk of leaping into the somewhat unknown, knowing that there are no guarantees that our dreams and plans will be fully realized. But we also know that the greatest risk is to take no risk at all.
And so I want to thank you, Sacred Ground, for having been a significant part of my journey. I am most grateful for the ways in which you have enriched my life and the lives of so many others.
Jan Stanton is a Sacred Ground member and former Board member. She has especially enjoyed the Tuesday morning opportunities for continued professional growth.