I swear it was just a few days ago that I had my sweet Fijian reunion with my Kara. Where all sweet things dwell though, a dose of bitter evens out our keel. One of my favorite authors, Shauna Niequest says it best:
‘Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich when it contains a splinter of sadness.
Bittersweet is the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gustsy, earthy.’
If I could sum up a tearful goodbye to my sweet Kara, it would look something like that…
It is so very bitter to wish her adieu [which I ironically had to do not once, but twice, thanks to failed travel plans—that Kara’s the one who coined my nickname, ‘Annex2,’ adds a layer of funny that only God can deliver]. But it is oh, so sweet to know the state in which we say farewell.
From the shadows of heartbreak, to the lightness of villa life. From the lightness of villa life to the strong, nuanced, courageous and earthy gals we’ve become on this journey around the world. From a sweet friendship, to a deeply complex, kindred-kind-of-bond.
I think I said hello to Kara in Fiji, knowing that she would make me feel good and that we’d laugh ourselves silly and that she’d provide the comfort of home on the opposite side of the world. But I think I said goodbye in Bali [twice] with a renewed sense of confidence, independence and gratitude for my friend.
So to Kara, I’d send a ‘thank youx2’ for shaking the life back into my soul, showing me what strength looks like and for every patient gesture of grace. I could have had fun on this trip with anyone. But I believe you, little Karol, are who I was meant to live this journey with.
I spent my last few Indonesia days in the Gili Islands, where I spent some precious ‘me time.’ I read the Bible. I snorkeled with sea turtles. I worked on my tan. I slept. I laughed by myself with The Ellen Show on repeat. I watched the sunset. I drank Long Islands. I soaked up some Eastlake. I reconnected with home. And I realized why I am here.
So to Bali and Gili Air, I’d also send a ‘thank you x2’ for showing me what beautiful feels like. And giving me that glimmer of healing that I’ve been searching for.
Two very bittersweet goodbyes. One incredible journey with one incredible friend. Zero regrets.