Always, always, you are wondering, will I see this one again?


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When I graduated from college, there were people who said things that hurt me so.

They never intended to prick me. Their hope was never to harm me with their stacking of words. But me, I’ve always been too sensitive of a soul, skipping the heart-on-sleeve sewing to chuck my heart on the concrete for others like the throwing of candy at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

So when they told me I would be the kind of girl who walked in and out of others’ lives I simply told them no. No, I would be rooted. No, I would stay. And when they told me I would be the kind of girl to never look back at them I told them no. No, I would be turning my head back more than they could count. No, I would be spinning round & round to find them.

 

They were right.

I have become the kind of girl who walks in and out of others’ lives. I am there for moments. I am standing upon a stage and I am delivering some sort of message, mixed and mingled with poetry my Mama raised me on, before I am leaving, unhooking the microphone and walking away. I am finished in twenty minutes. And I am boarding a flight. And I am heading home. And I am going to do it all again next week.

What they never told me—when they said I’d be the girl to swoop in & then out, in & then out—is that I would be the one to hear the door slam the loudest. Always. I would be the one left standing by the door.

 

I’m sitting in a café with a friend, scraping my eggs across a plate because I don’t feel much like eating. And I don’t feel much like talking.

This was the first time that I felt a little broken while my plane was on the runway. This is the first time I have come home feeling a little bit hollow from walking away.

She asks me, “What do you think is the toughest part of your job?” She’s expecting something different than the answer I will give her. She’s expecting me to say finances, or delegation, or knowing what to charge for this or knowing how to balance that. She’s waiting for the nitty gritty details to splurge from my lips.

I say, “The hardest part is leaving.” There is a pregnant pause as I place down my fork and find the place to curl my hands around the coffee mug for comfort. “The hardest part is leaving a place when you only want to stay for a little while longer.”

It’s the thing that people never notice about my job. It’s the thing they never see when the Instagram is filled with travels and the Twitter is stocked up with 140-charactered fragments that tell of a girl living out her dreams. And while I never take my life for granted, it’s the oddest thing in the world to be singled out and set apart for your story. It’s the craziest feeling to spark people and push people with your words and then walk away to do it over again in another space and another place.

 

I crave connection wherever I am but it hurts to get to know the faces because always, always, you are wondering, will I see this one again?

And if the answer is no, if I never see you past the lights shining down on me and the theatre closing in all around my echoing voice, will I know how to let you go? Will I know how to want the very best for you? Will I know how to release this sadness that trembles in my throat at the thought of saying goodbye before there ever was a decent stack of hellos?

There’s a grey I can’t quite understand for moments that don’t last longer than our fingernails. There’s a sadness that thickens when I walk away from a place, or from good people. There is a loneliness only I know that comes from sharing a story to a room packed to the balconies with faces and knowing that not a single one of them can follow where you go.

 

“You can bring home the souvenirs,” I tell her. “But never the people. I think that’s the toughest part.”

And as we sit in silence there is irony dancing in the air as Rihanna’s latest song crawls through the speakers like a slow and mangled lullaby. I feel like crying. I feel like pursing my lips together and curling my hands into fists. I feel raw and sad to be living inside a Tuesday that hasn’t thought to schedule coffee dates with the sunlight all afternoon.

She sings about staying. About wanting someone to stay for reasons she can’t understand.  And for once, I feel like she is singing about something we all know. Her voice is slow. Her melody is lonely.

When she sings it, we all mean it, “I want you to stay.”

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14 Comments

Filed under Letting Go

14 responses to “Always, always, you are wondering, will I see this one again?

  1. Oh, Hannah, it must feel, sometimes, like there’s not enough of you or enough of them, but I have to believe you’ve left them something of yourself and they’ve given you something of themselves to take with you. Something intangible and beautiful. You’re like the bee with the pollen, doing your job of spreading love and leaving it in places that are essential to the blossoming of a future flower or the growing of a delicious fruit. You will never know the good you’ve done, but believe it. And let it be enough. Because you’re making a difference to so, so many, and I wish that would bring you only joy.

  2. Hannah. Hannah. I think you need to be reminded of some wise words a wise woman once said.

    I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold – that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says…”I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.” – Maya Angelou

  3. You may be physically leaving, but you are leaving a large part of yourself with those people that you leave behind. That is what matters. You have no idea of how many lives you’ve touched and changed by sharing a part of your very soul.

  4. This is how I often felt, and still feel, about SEARCH retreats. There are a handful of small groups that are still imprinted in my memory and I wonder where life has taken those teens in the years since our half-day retreat. You spend time sharing some of the intricacies of your soul, and they do the same, and then after a lovely little closing, they depart and you very likely will not see them again. But I think over time I’ve come to find the magic in that (dare I call it that?). You simply never know how your words and guidance will affect someone in both the near and distant future. But it’s a trade-off, because similarly, those you work with will never know how they inspire and shape you. And as scary and intangible as that is, it is beautiful and hopeful, too.

  5. Dear Hannah,
    Just sitting here and hearing your heart’s cry…it must be lonely at times…Thank you for doing what God has so clearly gifted and called you to do…if it is okay, I’m sending your a cyber-hug. Look forward to our chat on Sunday. I sent you an e-mail to confirm the time (2 pm PST).

  6. This is stunning, Hannah. I can’t imagine having to weave in and out of people’s lives as you do, though it is something I hope to do some day.

    Just so you know, you don’t really leave. You make an impact, and you are a part of their lives forever. You are a part of my life forever. I think all the time ‘Hannah did it. I can do it. Hannah inspires – she inspired me – I can inspire others’…and I just saw you on Youtube. Imagine the impact you make in person. <3

  7. Hannah, I think Shai hit the nail on the head…and Shai, I too have the same dream of being able to the same. We are fascinating and interesting. It must be awesome to have even the smallest part of so many lives. I can see where you come from though because on a much smaller scale I’m going through the same thing.

    I’ve met and moved in with someone who was ‘broken’ for lack of a better word. I still didn’t get to know her as much as I’d want but now I’m leaving. She introduced me to and walked with me through a totally new experience. “The hardest part is leaving.” .I was living in a place where I found peace and was able to step back, pause, breath, and enjoy time away from a family that was ‘broken’. We understood each other on an unspoken level. In the blink of an eye I’m leaving that to go back to my mom’s as if it were all a vacation. I sat in my room just yesterday, after reading this blog, and was entirely in sync.

    I guess the story is irrelevant but I want to meet as many people as I can and understand them, befriend them, get to know them. Though more reserved in my actions I love people, I love conversation and I love listening to the experiences of others. I know the feeling of being lonely. I really love the bravery of putting your feelings into answering that question. It was articulated in a way that I could never put it but I think relatable to most on some level. Back to Shai’s point, though you are apart from those you meet you’re a part of their lives forever. Like Shai, myself, and many others you’re always in our thoughts even though we don’t get to talk one on one over coffee or volley stories back and forth. That feeling alone has brought me comfort to a handful of awesome people I’ve met across the US and abroad. I hope it can do you the same.

    Stay awesome.

  8. Jan Daddona

    I’m wondering if you feel you’ve left yourself. Can you spend more solo time with Hannah? I’m sure she’d love to see you too. Much love to you.

  9. Sarah

    Hannah, just stopping by to leave u a little note…you have a beautiful heart. I saw one of your videos on youtube and it bought tears to my eyes. Thank you Hannah for being who you are. Sending you much love, peace and strength for your journey <3

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  11. Emily McHenry

    Thanks for your honesty, Hannah. I hear you. A girlfriend of mine told me recently that while travel has this beautiful, whimsical sound to it, what people fail to mention is that now no matter where I am, I’ll be missing someone. Keep sharing your story, and keep lighting up the world, sweet girl. The missing is part of knowing you gave well while you were there. Love you much

  12. K

    Thank you for sharing your poignant thoughts and your beauty with the world. Thank you for sharing love.

  13. Julieta Hernandez

    HANNA, wherever you are, love will follow you because you have opened many hearts with your love and there are waterfalls and rivers and streams and oceans of love ready to open to your words, just say the word and I am with you in spirit but someday I would like to meet you in person because you are the best person I know in the whole world besides my mother.

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