I found my sunglasses in the folds of the stroller, the very last place they could be. The world was extra bright for those two days, the sun blinding my light eyes. The only sunglasses I could find were a pair with golden glittered rims, a sweet gift from a friend, when we gathered with our families over brunch for dinner and celebrated motherhood with mimosas, donuts, and sparkly glasses. I put them on and they turned the world three shades brighter on an already dazzling day. That wouldn’t work. I gave them to the kids. When a person walks in a room wearing glitter rimmed sunglasses, a smile is certain.
This Friday afternoon is still, the girls nap and their brother is enjoying his hard earned reward of video games, his favorite time of the week. My four year old eagerly agreed to pull the large weeds in the yard for two dollars. She pulled the wagon around, wearing blue gardening gloves, plucking every last one from the ground. Finally, she’s acquired the money she needs for that Dora book, she’s been wanting it for months.
The baby is afraid of the grass, so she plays contented on the blanket in the shade. I know that season won’t last forever, so as she is increasingly mobile, I celebrate that little fact.
I think the big things in life are always suddenly. Perhaps all the things are gradually coming and going, but there is one defining moment when you vocalize the words. There it is. Yes, that’s it.
I remember when we lived on Maple street in Tennessee. Standing in the hallway of an old house turned apartments, full of character and surely mold. It had been a long season of job loss, unemployment, endless provisions, and searching. In that instant, we faced each other, looking deeply for peace, looking deeply for any clues at all. Let’s go to Minnesota, he said. Our one year old son slept in his room with floor to ceiling faux wood paneling of the most hideous variety. We didn’t move and didn’t speak. The words saturated the air and then peace. Our searching eyes locked and still, only peace. Okay, I said. Okay, he said. Just a month later, we left the first place that was truly our home, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It was time to go and yet, it will always feel more like home than everywhere we’ve been since. Minnesota for three years. Next, North Carolina with its own moment, less simple and more ambitious. Let’s go. Two years and three months later, it was time for another defining moment.
For all the things we hoped this place would become and didn’t, it’s alright. For all the things it has been, they are important too. I will never regret these years of living near some of my dearest friends, helping in times of need, celebrating life, and gathering for no reason at all. Hands down, that will always be my favorite part of this place.
And so, it happened in a similar way, when we heard the news that no one wants to hear, we knew then too, we would go. We would not regret the decision to be near his family as they faced this unforeseen season of sickness. No one seems to have words to say how they feel or what to do, so I won’t waste any trying. Life doesn’t always have to be told in words. Sometimes, life is in the silence or exchanged glances in empty halls. Follow the peace, my friend Stacey says. I feel peace best in the silence. Follow the peace. I think that’s a good story to live.
Life is suddenly. Suddenly understanding the things you’ll miss: the medical clinic with the nicest people, the grocery store you look forward to visiting, dinner with friends on Thursday night because someone you all love is in town from across the country, and more. But, they are the sweetness which paints your memories of each place. There is always something to miss about everywhere and there are always new possibilities. New coffee shops to love. New places with amazing pastries. New connections that will encourage and inspire. This collected life is a rich one with unending opportunities.
On this Friday afternoon, I set out to read my book. I read two beautiful paragraphs and then set it down. I reached for my computer to write. Not because I knew what to say, but because I could feel all the things that wanted to be said. And here they are.
Life is never without a transition, is it? At least, it’s true for me. All the things gradually coming and going until suddenly. So, here we are again, another move. Clean out the excess. Take down the pictures. Fill the holes in the walls. Survey that which you want to keep. Realize what you’ll miss. Let go of what you no longer need. Feel all that this place has been. Decide that is has been good. Begin the process of detaching from another set of rooms and walls that has been home. Linger in the here and now, in the way the light stretches down the hall. Look forward with a brave abandon to keep living this beautiful story.