I hate goodbyes. And I just realized that I’ve started a long one. With my home. We moved here – to the sweetest place on earth – four years ago this month.
Ironically, I didn’t want to move here. It was not love at first sight for me, like my last house was. My last house was my precious little dream home. But this house was my husband’s choice. I have since fallen in love with it, though, a little more each day.
I took a walk up and down my driveway last night, just after the rain, pink sky, drops of water hanging off evergreen branches. It occurred to me that Jesus knew, when we moved in four years ago, that this was the home my marriage would be ending in. Where I would be saying my largest and weightiest goodbyes…to my husband, to a marriage that I had vowed to stay in no matter what, to a vision of a family that I had intended to never walk away from.
A dear friend said to me a couple years ago, upon seeing my home for the first time, “If you must be sad, this is a beautiful place to do so.” And she was so right. Surrounded by eighty-some trees, with a pond to one side, there is beauty from every window, coziness in every corner. Though each of my first four homes since getting married hold very sad memories, this stretch has been the most difficult, has held the most tears. I have prayed the most desperate prayers within these four walls. I have surrendered the most basic of dreams in this place. I have fought the ugliest fights. I have laid down my weapons here and have said, in so many words, “enough”.
So I’ve begun the quiet process of letting go, preparing my heart to leave this place that I had at first thought would be literally my final home. I go knowing there is something sweet waiting for me. But that doesn’t make the goodbye any easier. There were first days of school here. There were a few books written here. There were two trips to Africa taken while here. There were innumerable gatherings with friends and family. There were sleepovers and movie nights and laughter that rang through the rooms. There were sweet moments with Jesus while looking up at the stars or sitting in the yard listening to the birds and nothing else. There was dancing in the kitchen and charades and catching snow on our tongues and thirteen cats and the unexpected deer or two and beauty upon beauty upon beauty.
This has turned out to be a quiet, peaceful, gentle place to close out this chapter of my life. I will be forever grateful to have treaded lightly on this land for a short season. And I will say goodbye with a changed heart for having been wrapped up in this place, even if I leave sooner than I ever expected.