I walked through rooms and remembered. I remembered the many people that we shared meals with around our table. I remembered the joy and exhaustion of bringing two kiddos into our family in this place. I remembered months of kitchen renovations, picnics on the front porch, as well as some heartache and sleepless nights. That afternoon I watched our kids playing and catching up with our dear neighbor that we left behind, and I felt tinges of sadness. Yet, as we all loaded up in the van to head home, I was grateful to God for His faithfulness and our kids' resilience. They were ready to head home, to our current life; the new chapter that we began a year ago. The chapter that has been an answer to prayer in many ways. I'm not sure that I have ever been so happy to arrive home as I was that day.
We've moved 13 times in our 18 years of marriage. That's a lot by most-anyone's standards. We've lived in little apartments, graduate school housing (not once, but twice!), a cute cape cod in a city we love, the basement of someone else's suburban house, a big old farmhouse in a town of 2,000, and a tiny apartment in a sprawling city of over 15 million.
Moves can be so painful. We leave precious people behind, knowing that it will never be the same. Shared history is no longer shared. Identities are often lost. We are challenged to set up our home in yet another new space. We have to learn how things work in our new community; what is acceptable, what is typical. And most painful for me, our new friends don't know our stories. In the midst of this, I have found that moves can chart our growth if we will let them. Just as we tend to go through our belongings as we move, I've noticed that I'm inclined to examine my soul in this same manner with each move.
I am not the same woman that I was when we walked into that home for the first time over 6 years ago. I'm changed. I won't lie, I was ready for that season to be over. And now I'm trying not to waste this opportunity to evaluate what pieces of me would be best to leave behind and what pieces I want to walk forward with.
It's possible I'll never have the story of living in one home, or perhaps even a community, for decades. Our children tell their stories prefaced by which home we lived in in which community. I have spent moments sad about that and wishing that this was not our story. But, in the past few weeks I've been trying to reframe my mind and embrace this "semi-nomadic" lifestyle we've lived these years.
I'm learning to focus my mind on the amazing gift of loving people that we have continued friendships with around the country. The multitude of people from around the world that we have had the gift of knowing. Our kids being witness to the faithfulness of God, His bigness and the awareness of His work in many places. The joy of hearing former cross country coaches and friends cheering my kids on, having conversations with them and continuing to care about them. I'm training my mind to focus on thankfulness for the growth I can see as I look back on many chapters.
*one extra caveat: We do realize that this way of life that we've been called to and have chosen will be something for our kids to work on in therapy someday. What's one more thing, huh?
Related post from a couple years ago: Am I taking the lead? Are you?