Exactly two weeks ago I woke up with a sense of nervous anticipation. It was moving day. I watched, feet firmly planted on original hardwoods, as close friends hauled our things to the moving van parked right next to a heap of our former mailbox. “Good thing they already did the inspection!” Ray had joked after backing into it with a twenty six foot U-Haul. I should have known then that the weekend forecast was looking grim, especially considering I was changing for the second time that morning thanks to Samuel re-experiencing his breakfast, but all I could think about was coffee.
I nursed my cup of coffee as though I was nursing the wound of leaving, as though each sip of the beloved liquid could ease the ache in my heart by covering me in surrealism. It could not, but it was worth the attempt. We went about the business of moving, the men playing a giant game of Tetris in the truck, the women half cleaning and mostly cooing over Samuel behind them. We ordered pizza for lunch and stood in the kitchen, devoid of furniture but full of laughter and conversation, collecting our heads and our hearts to prepare for more packing. I realized I was missing a child and a friend, only to find them nestled on the porch swing as she clung to him with tears. Be still my heart and don’t lose it, I told myself as I sat down with them. Our move was not only our adventure, but an invitation for all we held dear in Nashville to adventure on without us. Adventure was not something I wanted to embrace at the moment.
What followed the tearful goodbyes and the multiple polaroids and selfies was a long drive in which my husband epically towed my car behind the moving van through the mountains, a tomorrow full of anything but marital bliss and peace, mountains of unpacking in a grungy college apartment complex, and an ocean of grief barely stifled in pragmatism. It is by the grace of God that Ray and I are both alive and together given the last couple weeks. A miracle still more that he graciously gave me the morning to hunker down in my favorite coffee shop for some time to reflect over a soy “Dirty Hippie.”
It has been fourteen days. Fourteen days of staying at home with Sam. Fourteen (at least) blow out diapers. Two weekends of going to sleep with the ambient noise college partying provides topping off a daily whiff of marijuana wafting through the building. Our things are scattered across the condo and storage unit, one of which has managed to eat my running shoes and boots. Just when I think I have all of the laundry caught up, Sam proves he has a wealth of body fluids to share. It has been fourteen days of a frazzled woman choosing pity over praise, anger over anticipation, worry over worship, and grumbling over grace all because she is in love with a sense of control. She needs that sense of control in the midst of her life being wrought with chaos in order to be okay. This insidious lie she has believed gives birth to a daughter more dangerous than itself, that this frazzled woman’s choice to wallow in negativity is a controlled burn that causes no effect in the lives of those around her.
I am that frazzled woman. I am that control freak. I am that ungrateful Israelite.
Tears well as I think about the graciousness and the patient faithfulness of the Living God towards me, His pill of a daughter. Daily He has invited me to walk with Him in a new perspective, and daily I have chosen to sulk. Daily He has answered prayers so tiny and insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe, and yet they have mattered to my selfish self. Daily He has reminded me that He is with me, He is in this, He is enough, and His heart is for me. Like drops of hot water on this heart of ice, His word has persistently fallen on my heart. Daily He has shown me that He sees me and He is trustworthy, that He is safe.
I miss home. I miss those four walls that encompassed so much, represented so much to our family. I miss our community, those sweet friends who are genuine family and rooms that were always full. I miss our city, the diversity and culture, the divine gift of authentic Thai food right at our fingertips. I miss work, the joy of doing what I love and the feeling of accomplishment, of knowing how to complete the tasks at hand, of embracing the challenge of mastering the complicated. There is a dreamlike haze that falls like a screen before my thoughts when I think about this move, as though this is really temporary and surely I will wake up soon; a dreamlike haze that is slowly starting to clear, like a fog lifting from the foundation of my soul, ripping a bandaid off of my heart. It’s the kind of pain you know is normal, indicative of a season well spent, the imperative launching place for a new adventure, the necessary eradication of the weeds choking the potential fruit of your being. It is like winter itself, in which death is an avenue of life to spring forth, life that would not otherwise exist.
This is the fertile ground. This is the welder’s dream, where the fire doesn’t consume the steel of the stuff you are made of but allows the Creator to mold you into the beautiful. This is where your weakness is exposed with harsh vulnerability, where you experience the covering of strength and grace only found in the bosom of God. This is the birth only the labor of sanctification can produce, in all of the grossness it is a fearsome thing to behold.