So here I am.
Shaking nervously and excitedly, breathing deeply, checking my lists for the 6th time today, making sure I didn't forget to pack the important things. I have packed everything I need to take home with me successfully into 2 suitcases, 1 carry on, a guitar and faithful Superbowl. Whatever else I need but would be too much of a hassle to take on the train I have bonded in Duct tape and shipped home via Canada Post. Here’s a little packing tip, shipping by Canada post is actually pretty cheap and the people are so friendly! As I packed I realized I wouldn't need my coat hangers, pillows, or towels, rumor has it they have such fancy things in Ontario, so I have left them behind. I have left so much behind, I am shedding off layers of things I depended on and taking this move home to burst through new soil and start afresh all over again. I am returning home to my old stomping grounds but I am not the same person that I was when I left them. Like any true epic story the Island has been my reverse Neverland. I left Ontario and came to a magical Holy Spirit saturated land and grew up. My heart is stronger, my peace is deeper, and myself on the whole is richer. But don’t be discouraged that all this change will make me unrecognizable, my smile hasn't changed.
This is it. In a littler over 14 hours I will say good bye to my beloved Prince Edward Island and return to my beautiful Ritsema Homestead in faithful Ontario and begin my adventure as a certified Pastry Chef and the next phase of my life as an adult woman. The Lord has gone before me, guided me, provided for me and held my hand through out this past year and I can’t imagine He would steer me wrong now. I am afraid of what is to come with stepping foot on the mainland for good. What next, God? Why do you hide your plans for me? Can’t you show me just a little window of it so I can chase away these nerves? But that isn't the way of God, and that isn't His way with me, so I need to hold tight and keep walking.
I am sad and truly heart broken that I will be leaving the Island and all the people I have come to love here. I will miss the smell of the ocean, that deep, romantic aroma, so beguiling and magical. I will miss the taste of those deep waters, salty enough to pucker your lips to eternity but sweet enough to cast you into thirst for them again and again. I will miss the cruel north east wind in the dead of winter as it wraps around you like a drenched wool coat. I will miss the rolling green land, and the red ribbon of sand that ties around the Island in one big nurturing hug. I will miss the spicy smell of the red soil, the gentle curve of the pace of life on the Island and the sassy spirit that bubbles underneath it. But most importantly I will miss the friends and church family I have come to love and cherish whose embraces and kisses I couldn't get enough of these past few weeks.
But I am excited to. Excited to once again indulge my ears in the impossibly loud bay of the neighbours donkey in the middle of the night. I will saturate my senses in the crackle and hum of the word furnace. I will wrap my arms around the family and friends that I have been away from for so long. I can’t wait to see them again, to laugh with them, to talk, and to have new adventures and shenanigans with them. But most importantly I am looking forward to 5:00 am wake up calls during goose season as my cousin snipes off those wretched Canada geese! The perfect combination of shot gun fire, panicked geese and the sudden splash as their bodies plummet into the pond is like the symphony to me. And the most exciting thing of all is that I don't know what the Lord has in store for me. Looking back over this past year as I grew and came to life on the Island I can see how God has prepared me for this adventure. I have seen countless signs of Gods handy work as He went before me preparing me for this new chapter in my life. I know that as long as I continue to hold the Lords hand, white knuckled and terrified, that I will be just fine.
After I finished packing today I took time out on the couch and watched the last half of the last Lord of the Rings: Return of the King movie. After the battle for Middle Earth had been fought and good had prevailed everyone returned to their homes and life began to rotate normally again, but the hero Frodo was called to go on one more adventure. Frodo was taken to the harbour where a ship was waiting for him to carry him into the west. As I watched that scene I compared it with my own departure. I too am going across the sea, well the Northumberland Strait but same thing, into the west, to the undying lands of my fore fathers. I, like Frodo, have had an epic adventure, I have fought many battles on this Island. Spiritual, emotional, physical, and the odd butter battle, some I have won and others I have lost. Sadly, the ones I have lost left casualties of sugarless cupcakes in their wake, but on the whole the war was won and I stand a victor in the presence of my delightful God. I am going into the west, home to the west, to familiar lands, to familiar smells, sites, and sounds. With all the familiarity awaiting me there is a greater expanse of the unfamiliar waiting for me as well. But I am ready for it and all the adventures it holds for me, and it is my experience that the unfamiliar can be quite friendly and not that scary at all.
I am ready, even though the mourning of my heart and my shaking hands tells me otherwise. I am ready to come home. I need to come home. I have been gone for an entire year and in my absence who has fed Ontario!? Fear not, Mama Jo is returning and she has very capable cheesecake hands.
I fill my lungs with one more sinfully delicious breath of ocean air and breathe. Just breathe.