As I mentioned recently, I have moved a lot in my lifetime. If my calculations are correct, I have moved about 15 times (and that’s only counting college once, despite the fact that I moved to a different dorm every year, and twice my junior year). As you might imagine, the moves have occurred over a lifetime – from as young as one-year old to this move in my late thirties.
At some point over the years of moving I developed a tradition. When the whole house is empty, the truck fully loaded, and the cars ready to pull out, I quietly slip back into the house and walk through every room. There is something about the hollowness of an empty home that you have lived in: the echo of your feet as you walk through the house, the lingering hints of artwork once hung, and even the scents of people or food. There is an ache that the emptiness causes – a finality like none other. But there is also the rush of memories: the child you brought home from the hospital, the sleepless nights as the toddler transitioned to a “big girl bed,” the parties and family celebrations, and the countless visitors. In the silence of the empty house you can hear the hint of years of laughter, remember the nights of tears shed, feel the warmth of a child rocked to sleep, and see the shadows left by the lamp as you wrote by night. Though the house is empty, the house has been your home, steeped in love for however long you have been there. The hollowness reveals the hallowedness of the space.
This week I continued the tradition. Though I have given myself little time to grieve the phase of my life’s journey, tonight I realized how sad I am to close this chapter. God has been so very good to us here – four years of marriage and children and work and play is a lot. We have been blessed by new friends and experiences. We have grown and changed for the better. In the quiet of the house, I am deeply grateful for the abundance God has shown us. God is good. All the time.