Three weeks from today I will leave for China. These days are full of final preparations, meetings, sorting, shopping, packing, saying goodbye, thinking this is the last time I’ll do this. As you might guess, these days are full of feelings—lots of different feelings, usually all at the same time.
A few weeks ago I got Ingrid Michaelson’s new album, Lights Out. The refrain of the song “Wonderful Unknown” strikes me every time I listen: “Here we go, going in alone into the dark and wonderful unknown, let us go, let us go.”
This line captures my life. It captures the anticipation, the wonder, the fear, the joy, the trepidation, the peace. All of it.
There’s the anticipation I feel about getting ready leave. There’s excitement about learning Chinese and setting down some roots. Excited that eventually I will have space where I can have friends over. Excitement that I have a huge, fascinating city to explore and photograph.
My heart is full of wonder. Wonder in the sense of wide-eyed awe that this is my life and I’m actually moving to China in three weeks. And wonder in the sense of curiosity of what the next few years of my life will hold. Curiosity about the culture and the people that I will get to know.
At the same time, I’d be lying if I said I was never afraid. It isn’t the strongest emotion, but there are moments when I’m afraid of all the things that could happen.
There is also joy in my heart at getting to return to a place I love. Joy that so many people care about this adventure. Joy in trusting in God’s plan for my life, which is so much more unique than what I would plan for myself.
Then there’s trepidation—lots of it. People ask me so many questions I don’t know the answers to. I have my own set of questions. Some of them have complicated answers with many possible answers. Some of them don’t have any answers at all yet. So there are nerves I have going into any new situation. There is the realization that I am stepping into a huge unknown. It might be dark. It might be wonderful. It will probably be dark and wonderful intertwined.
And there is peace. Peace that this is the right thing at the right time. Peace that nothing in heaven or on earth can separate me from the love of God. In that peace, I say “let us go, let us go.” Let us go “into the dark and wonderful unknown.”