These were the questions running through my head as I did the last walk through of our empty home a couple weeks ago. It seems so anti-climactic. There is this mingling of guilt and excitement, loss and adventure. Fortitude, finality, and faith...and joy! But sadness. And the practical/logical side of me thinks, "Why would you feel sad for a house? Brick and mortar and wood. Perhaps it isn't exactly sadness. Perhaps it is more like gratitude. Gratitude for what this house represents...a home. A family was built here. Life was lived here.
Here siblings became friends.
Here the "Poop Monster" would be banished forever, never to return again. It might seem trite, but it brought to us a certain confidence and freedom in our parenting. And there is a mineral oil stain on the carpet upstairs to show its struggle. "When I am afraid, I put my trust in You."
Here Rivers morphed from a baby to a big boy and lost his precious curls in the process.
Here Rivers learned to swing a bat and a golf club in the front yard.
Here Monkey #3 was born and lived her first year. Here for the first time we actually had a room for a brand new monkey! (the other two had pack-n-plays and closets...but they survived)
Here said monkey learned to crawl (with a gimp leg) and clap and talk and almost-walk.
Here Super Heroes (and friends) were made...
(not sure exactly what kind of Super Hero TB is trying to be...maybe just a dancing princess...they fight crime in their own way, I suppose)
Here Halloween became fun for me. About friends and community, not scary costumes and candy. Halloween Street, you will be missed (!gasp!)
Here Taylor Beth decided to be a dancer...
And learned to read...sitting on the porch swing every day.
Here we had our first sleep over!
All of these memories swirl around in my memory as I look around this empty house on my last walk through. So much life was lived! Our family built major foundations within these walls.
Yes, it is gratitude. Gratitude for grace...to keep living, to keep growing. Here He who began a good work in me has been faithful to keep completing it. So grateful.
In all honesty, I was none too thrilled to move back to Birmingham, Alabama 3 years ago. More like dragging my feet. But Birmingham, Alabama has been good to us. For us. The Lord has been undeservedly good to us. I am so grateful for the past 3 years. They were not easy years. But they were good.
"Where Thou art - that - is home." Emily Dickenson
And that's what I feel as I close the door for the last time. God has been here. In richness and suffering and good.
And the hope I feel? God will be in our new home. Where He is - that - is home.
In closing, and in honor of the beautiful Magic City...some parting shots. (They were taken literally as I drove away for the last time.)