Heart like the Pacific (Splashing All Over California)

It’s so easy to pack up things; it’s so easy to leave. Only suitcases and hats and picture frames. Ben Rector plays through my speaker, and in a matter of two hours, I am ready to go, ready to leave one life and enter into another, ready to drive to a state and not know a soul.

But my heart is so much harder to pack. It’s so much harder to gather up and bring with me. Like water, it has spilled and splashed all over the place, and I spend half my time leaving just trying to collect it back up. My hands are inadequate for the task, it just slips through my fingers and lingers where I first spilled it.

My car is moving forward, occasionally crossing the dashes and changing lanes. But my heart? It’s scattered all over the place. I begin to feel tears because I am perplexed by it.

*                      *                      *

Twenty people stood around my kitchen a few nights ago holding me. It was a surprise going away party full of laughs and Chick-fil-A cookie trays. I am moving across the country, and they wanted me to know they loved me.

My eyes were wet as they each placed their hand on me, praying soft, kind, and strong words. Reminding me of who I am, reminding me of God’s love, reminding me of friendship.

It was the first time I have cried since deciding to move, and in the moment it didn’t feel like sadness but overflowing love.

My heart spilled quite a bit then.

*                      *                      *

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote these words as I drove my orderly car to California:

“I know life moves people, but I’m excited to see if it could possibly move them a little slower. Just let me enjoy them a little bit longer; linger with them as the sun sets, knowing I can still linger with them at the next sunrise.”

Looking around that room a couple nights ago made me cry because each face was a reminder from God that he is working in my life. We’ve spent a year lingering with the sunset and the sunrise. And with each one, a little bit of my heart has splashed over the edge and into that moment, that place.

Each face looking at me loved me, and I loved each face.

My heart was a mess.

Now I’m worried I won’t have enough of it to give to the new people in the new place I’m driving to.

*                      *                      *

My car crosses dashed lines as I process friendship and splashing love. A little bit of my heart splashed out as Glenn and I watched The Office each night when I got home from work. It splashed as Amanda and I sat talking about the future at that coffee shop Micah and Leo work at. Splashes happened each time Colton let me play volleyball with him, and a lot of my heart can be found in the Arts District from that time Chris, Ellie, Bekah, and I ran around taking pictures and drinking expensive mochas. Micah and I were in a small group together this summer—he helped me process myself and let my heart splash like a wave pool. He’s good at that.

They all are. They’re all good at encouraging my heart to pour over its side and onto the ground surrounding it.

I’m driving through New Mexico—a state almost devoid of my heart—missing California and the people who experience my love best.

*                      *                      *

As my friends stood around me the other night in my kitchen, I had a bit of a realization. I was thinking about how sad I was to leave them and how nervous I was that I might not find them again on the East coast. Then it occurred to me that their love had splashed all over me. Their love had filled me up just as mine (hopefully) had filled them up.

So as I stood there in the kitchen with all their hands on me, I realized I would be bringing their love to the East Coast because, just as their hands were on my shoulders, their fingerprints and splashy love was all over my heart.

It’s a really cheesy thought, but it’s also powerful. Each hand I shake will receive the imprint of my Californian friends. Each conversation will include their voices because it is their voices that have shaped my own.

In that moment it began to dawn on me that the heart is a funny thing. When done properly, it’s one of the only things in life that is filled up as it’s poured out. God was quite careful to put fillers in my own life that encouraged me to be a pourer. My heart is splashed all over California and (hopefully) all over people there, and as I drive to a new place and new people, I realize my heart is full and ready to pour because of the precision and kindness of my friends—gifts from the God who knows what we need even when we don’t realize it.