Last night I slid our old house keys off their rings and placed them on our old kitchen counter, next to a pair of mail keys and two garage door openers.
My soul quieted into sacred space as I completed one final walk through of our home, resting momentarily on a dozen precious memories with each step: The first moment our eyes fell on the wonderful, open concept; the ratty green carpet, now replaced by laminate flooring; numberless meals rendered rich by family, friends, and good food in that cramped dining “area;” tickle fights on the floor of the living room; dancing through the main floor, arm and arm with my rapidly growing princess of a daughter; Life Group gatherings packed to the rafters with friends, prayers, tears, laughter, coffee, tea, and cake.
My palm glides along the railing as I make my way downstairs, remembering the tumble that put my feet through the drywall on the landing; how Joel would leap to the carpet from the fifth step; countless dozens of sleepovers, family pizza movie nights, and spilled pop, sticky even now, though hidden by the carpet. I smile as I recall building those shelves for Shauna in the pantry, how I had to fix the dryer vent so little mice wouldn’t join us in the winter, and how I would slide into bed with Noah for cuddle time and late night talks after his brother and sister had fallen asleep.
Upstairs, I see the tub where little bodies that are no longer little enjoyed warm baths and bubbles, the nook where I built a melamine-coated desk for our computer before we migrated from PC to Mac. I remember where Joel’s old loft bed stood high and proud, and the grunting from Grandpa as he joined him up there for bedtime prayers. I smile as I recall Glory curled into an angry “humph” ball under her covers and chuckle as I recall my fingers finding her toes and tickling them until her scowl turned to laughter and we enjoyed a hug and time together with Jesus. In the master bedroom, I sigh. Love making, dream weaving, financial planning, prayers, cuddling, resting and restoring.
The plan is to lock myself out of the garage, smacking the close button and scooting my way out as it closes on me for the last time. Here, too, I pause. I built the shelf system in here. I’ve built lots of things for this home, and I’m proud of them. My pause becomes a rest stop. This is hard. Hard because of what closing this door will leave behind. I’ve been praying through this whole walk through, but now my words are reduced to two, only whispered now because my chest is burning with emotion.
I click the button, bound down the steps, hop over the invisible beam, and watch the curtain of our old life fall with a slow rattle and a groan. The sun is setting. It’s appropriate.
Our new place is not even five minutes from our old one, and as I drive up, I breathe another thank you. This home is bigger, nicer, but emptier—full of other people’s memories, invisible to me. This new space is waiting to be filled with our laughter and tears, our stuff, our prayers, our spills dents and games and good times. I love it. The house already feels like a home. Unpacking the boxes and building new shelves will help.
So will life, as it unfolds.
Jesus, lead on. As always, I will follow.