My friend L.L. Barkat has announced that she is leaving her position as Managing Editor at The High Calling. She’s got some great new ventures she’s developing, so I’m happy for her decision and the wonderful things to come. And we inhabit more or less the same virtual space, so we’ll still interact.It’s just that I’ll miss working with her, building something together, learning directly from her.Several years ago she brought me onto the team and mentored me as a writer and editor, nurturing me along the way, modeling creativity, compassion, sensitivity and strength.I thought I would share with you what I wrote to her at her goodbye post. I hope that everyone could be led at some point in their careers by someone as nurturing and gifted as L.L. Barkat:
When the kids were little, we would fly to Europe to visit my husband’s family. The children loved living for a couple of weeks at their grandparents’ house eating Grandma’s homemade jam spread on slices of baguette, walking to the park holding Grandpa’s hand, playing with cousins without understanding a word of the French that poured out of their mouths and realizing this was all part of who they are, and these people they were growing to love so dearly were their people.And then, we had to leave. We had to say goodbye and fly away from it all, not knowing when we’d see them again.The kids, especially two of them, would weep so hard, torn from these relationships, that I’d have trouble maintaining composure as we walked down the corridor to go through security. They sobbed and sobbed, and I felt their pain as well as my own, double the heartache, or triple, or more.Getting close, building trust, and loving more deeply makes the inevitable goodbye so much harder. One could almost live at a distance to avoid some of the pain.But I learned that you can’t live like that. You go ahead and allow yourself to get close, to trust, to love more deeply even though you know that the pain will be bigger, later, at departure.I’m willing to deal with the pain, for the joy of having loved and trusted you as my friend and mentor. Thank you.
Image of my and L.L.’s shoes taken at Calvin College on the day we first met in 2008. Taken by Ann Kroeker.