On Leaving Well and the Courage to Stay


My husband left his job with the company that’s fed us and clothed us and provided everything we needed for the last seven years.  He has a new job near the City, in a new to him industry, one that will bring all sorts of challenges for that big brain of his. But first, a shed.

Between the old and the new job, he will build a shed for the lawn equipment and sports paraphenalia that seems to multiply in our garage overnight. This means, I will likely be building a shed too, or at the very least required to make decisions about door placement and siding and roofing, and hey, can you hold this 100 pound wall up while I nail it in?

With the job, everything moved at a glacial pace, and then, a crack in the ice and the water flowed and eddied and pooled very quickly. We prayed over this leaving for almost eighteen months with no definitive direction, no real options in the works. We knew it was coming, even when all evidence pointed in the opposite direction. It felt like walking over beach with a metal detector knowing, absolutely knowing, something precious was buried under the shifting sand, we only needed to discover it.

It took well over a year of digging to find the gold hidden beneath the abrasive grains. There were false alarms: this job required another move, that one didn’t pay enough, the last one never called back. And in the meantime, a weariness settled in. The current job became less and less appealing. It would’ve been easy to let things slide, to build sheds, and gardens, and castles in the mind while the body punched the clock and put in the required time.

You can usually tell when someone is fixing to leave. Whether it’s a job or a sick body or a marriage. They pull away. They offer up a turned shoulder. They show up in body, while the mind roams beaches in the spirit. It is hard to leave well, when the best parts of you walked out the door ages ago.

But my husband kept showing up, doing the work, just like he does in our marriage and with our children. He could have taken the first bit of fool’s gold, the first shiny penny, but he held out for the real thing. This new job is the real thing. This life we’re building together is too.

Because he gave his best at work, even when he felt strangled by the sameness of it, he left his job well. He left to accolades and open doors inviting him back. What more can one ask of a man? That he live well, and leave well when he hears the call to move on.

I have not always left well. I left a string of friendships to fade into the past without a fight. I left the seven jobs in five years, some within a matter of weeks. I left the husband emotionally stranded when I experienced my thirty-something crisis. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth when I think of all the ways I need to live and leave better. I suppose some of learning to leave well, is actually learning how to stay. This is what I’m building while my husband hammers wood and fits windows in the side yard. I’m building friendships, a job, deep roots, and a calling in which I hammer together the courage to stay.


Where are you leaving well? Where are you finding the courage to live well and stay?