This morning I'm headed to Charlottesville, Virginia for a couple days to visit my friend Patrick before he moves to Connecticut for a new job and to be reunited with his husband after a year of long-distance.
Charlottesville is such a special place to so many people I love--it was Patrick's home for ten years, where he met Chad and started a life together with him; it was where Shawna took a post-bac program before med school; it was where Rob and I first really lived together, on our own; and it was where I went through what I look back on now as one of the hardest times of my life--getting over the death of a childhood friend, dealing with depression and anxiety, modifying my diet in a life-changing way, finishing graduate school, wondering what could possibly be next.
But it was also one of the best times of my life--morning trail runs with my best friend, followed by farmer's markets or big pitchers of mimosas, afternoons spent paging through the University of Virginia's gorgeous libraries, living across the street from Patrick and Chad, working at a sweet little coffee shop, coming to the beautiful realization that Rob was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
And then, suddenly, it was time to go. We packed up our stuff and I dropped Rob off at the airport for a month-long school trip to China before a six-month stint training for his new job in DC. I headed back to my parents' house on the lake with no real plans for anything; missing Rob, missing Charlottesville, with no clear vision of the fun and amazing and love-filled life that was in store for us.
Lately I've been thinking about all the other "ends" in my life--some sad, some happy, some both--that were really just wonderful beginnings: The end of long-distance when I finally joined Rob in Minneapolis. My last day at a job I really thought I needed. The end of our time in Minnesota. And so many others. Almost nothing lasts forever--but your heart can break and mend and grow more than you ever thought possible.
"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." --C.S. Lewis