Category Archives: Change

Presence of Place

Coinciding with the last day in our home, after long days of packing and moving and unpacking and still surrounded by so much work, we took relief in attending a Good Friday service at our home church. It was a beautiful reprieve to be able to sit, quiet, contemplative in the dark and remember the sacrifices of my savior that gives me a life I don’t deserve. To be able to worship, fully, as if alone, and to let floodgates of tears break free, as I used to most every time I worshiped in this place, as I needed to and could, it had been so long.

The places we live and breath and go to matter, they contain the life we live and give structure to it. But I know, as with everything else on this earth, they are temporal, and not the true things of this life. We attended this place, this new sanctuary and the old just across the street, for 7 years, a significant little lifetime. Now that my husband pastors the satellite campus, we no longer come here to worship and I miss it, the way I will miss our home, also a place of knowing God, of worship and nurturance, of so many memories of the rich life we had here. I carry in my belly what we believe will be the last of our children, our 5th, (unless twins) and I am remembering our pregnant beginnings here when parenthood would be brand new. It was my first of many winter pregnancies and I remember sitting in the old chapel, where we used to have church when the numbers were smaller, it was cozy and glowing with candlelight and I was immersed in identifying with Mary’s hope and awe for a child who would change the world. We were new to Seattle, pregnant for the second time, the first to last, and expectant of all the wonder and love that lay ahead. We’ve had 4 children since while in this building, devoted 3 to the Lord in dedication services we take as seriously as our wedding vows, grieved and mourned and wailed the loss of one whose middle name was Samuel, same as the son of Hannah who’s story is shared with each dedication – he was going to change the world too, in leaving us he did.

Tonight we sat hand in hand tucked in the back of the sanctuary through the whole service, something I no longer get to do with my husband and more than simple memory scenes came over me, as they have in our home these past few days, but the cumulative emotions of everything we experienced here was overwhelming to me. Again, so good to sit in the dark, to cry at a somber service that allows me to remember my savior’s death, see scenes of my son’s death, of births, of faces I love and have loved me, remember faces that are gone and realize so much here has changed too. I feel the hope that Easter is coming. It will be the first morning in our new home. It will be new life for us.

So much is unknown, it is hard to remember sometimes that I know of the resurrection, that this death is not final. I know the pain of change, that the days between Good Friday and Easter are short lived, and that He is present beside me in all of it. But I want to hold on to everything I hold dear, I want change to happen, but I want things to stay the same too. And when I repeat that it is “everything I hold dear” that matters, I know full well that everything I hold dear comes with me. In these days of tears, of remembering so much that was so good, and so hard which is meaningful too, I have been so aware of the fullness of life I have with the people who live and are welcomed in these walls. In the carpool or a park or mundane places like Costco, I have been sweetly reminded that it is my little (some would say big) family that gave any life at all to the walls and the rooms and the yard of our house, and it happens everywhere we go together. Similarly, as we have been intentional about having last gatherings with dear friends to say our goodbyes, we’ve exchanged mutual reassurances that the relationships will not go, even as we do.

He will come too, He is already there. When I am not always sure the why or the what of the path we seek to faithfully follow, I take comfort in knowing He is with me, and that His life gives everything that matters to my life.


Change

It is happening. The house hit the market and sold in a day, very unexpectedly after sitting on the market for months last year. The hope for change, the active preparation and plans and dreams that did not come to fruition was hard then. We were working toward an end that never came to fruition, and trust me, keeping an immaculate house with 3 little ones is not fun work.

So there is blessing here indeed, in the timing and the pace and in being able to move on as we had hoped. The need for immaculateness passed quickly, so thankful for that. We get to move forward, dream about new things and possibly see them come to fruition. I like change, new beginnings, starting again…

BUT…

I do not like things to end.

I read books for years sometimes, not wanting the characters to leave my life. I think back on days with my kids and wish I had one of them for each age they ever were. I reminisce over seasons of life fondly and hold this strange hope that I will return to that period of bliss at some point in my future.

But alas, I will not. Ends come, inevitably, even by my choosing, and I grieve them. As much as I like change and growth and adventure, I like my life as is, always, there are pieces to cling to and shout praises for and for which I do not want to say the final amen.

There will be memories in my house that I will never quite get to capture the smell of, or the exact frame of light for. I will tell baby Bird stories of her newborn-ness and first days walking and talking and she will have no recollection of the spaces I am referring to. Memories of the baby, then toddler, then preschooler and now elementary years for Bug and Barley will be from a space we will no longer enter into.

I like home. I create it, relish it, find extreme comfort in my familiar surroundings. I can be loud and full of life, quiet and full of any emotion at all, I can BE at home more than anywhere and that is nice. I don’t want to leave that, especially to work hard to create home somewhere temporarily not knowing what is next. I daydream and plan and decorate those new rooms in my head. I love possibility but I know that it is work and it will be unfamiliar I’m not always at ease with the “not knowing” parts when i am trying regularly to plan my life.

More than space though, are faces, familiar and loved, that I will miss. It takes years to know your neighbors, and it takes effort and work and risk to BE neighbors. One story, not to overshadow a million others, illustrates what I am saying goodbye to.

I made my thorough plans to have my two first children relying completely on my husband’s and my parents, who travel from a distance to get to us, and a couple of longstanding college friends waiting in the wings just in case. With my third, I had an unexpected situation send me to the hospital at 31 weeks and in a moment’s notice was able to get my children into caring hands where I knew they would not only we well cared for, but where they would feel as if they were with family.

All was well in the end, thankfully that day, but when I think of moving, of having another child someday the question that comes to mind is, who will my emergency people be where my kids will be safe and loved and known? Where I will be safe and loved and known? And could I possibly love them as dearly as these?

We used to have playdates with a room full of babies and toddlers where houses were normal looking, not all perfectly put together so there was no stress of the inevitable messier created by the chaos and no pressure to bring yours to perfection to host. We talked like it was oxygen as we’d been swimming alone for days on end in the sea of parenting young ones. We talked surface and deep, shared information and tips and good coffee and ate up all the snacks and kids ran wild, happy, sometimes in pj’s and uncombed hair, sometimes it was us in the pj’s with uncombed hair. This intentional ease and genuineness that allowed us to dive into real conversations and the joy of community will be a foundation of perfection for gathering of which I will never let go. I actually strive to fight the tendency to feel I must have the all-put-together house when I have guests. Of course, an all put together house is nice, but that is such a rare reality in this stage of life, so why pretend?

I tore two quotes from Country Living Magazine recently that I resonated with, I wish I had noted the authors…

“Clutter is the poetry of our homes. It is an intimate view that is not always perfect – a few dishes in the sink, books piled next to the bed, everything in it’s place may give a certain satisfaction, but a lived-in room exudes comfort and warmth.”

“So many people decorate to impress, but my favorite houses have life in their rooms. There are animals. You can tell the owners throw parties.”

And parties we throw! I am thinking of our final goodbyes and want to invite every friend far and near who has crossed the threshold into our lives in this place. We have packed in the love to this house with our gatherings large and small. Though I know we will celebrate again, and hopefully with these familiar faces and but it will not be a quick stroll down the street on a rainless spring day. It will not be these walls that hold our memories and our voices and our laughter and our love, and it will just be different. That makes me sad.

So thinking of closure, and change, and capturing moments that I know are fleeting and passing and all too quickly will be gone forever. I would relish ideas on making the best of these seasons of change.