goodbye and hello in the same quick breath

“Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into.” ―Wendell Berry

I drive home to Mississippi and watch iridescent green Tennessee hills rise and fall around me. Everything is covered in a lush layer of greenery. Bright yellow dandelions and Queen Anne’s lace bloom along the sides of the Natchez Trace. It’s all familiar. I am going Home. 

Tennessee with Christian has become Home. But Tupelo, Mississippi will always be Home, too. Can you have two homes? Can you have more than two?

I wonder how I can bear leaving another home behind. Many kind people have asked about our move. “How’s packing coming? Have you found a place to live yet?” But how do you put into words the fears, the anxieties, and the sorrow of leaving perhaps forever the place you have learned to call home? I can’t, so I usually settle for an abrupt, “It’s going.”

When I first moved to Tennessee for school, I was given the gift of a gradual goodbye. Every summer I came home and in the fall I said my goodbyes again. But they were only temporary. This move, however, seems entirely too soon, too harsh, and far too permanent. Franklin is the first place I lived outside of my parents roof. It’s the home of my dear little college that shaped and formed me. It’s the place where I have been welcomed and embraced by a wonderful church family. Franklin is the place where I fell in love. It’s the place where Christian and I made our first home together.

What if we never again live in community with these dear people who have loved us, taught us, invested in us, and pointed us to Jesus?

But we will. Perhaps not in this life. I am wonderfully sure and certain that we will meet again in glory and together sing forever to our Heavenly Father.

For now, we can only accept the unchangeable fact that all of this feels so deeply wrong and wait patiently for our heavenly home. Christian and I will go where the Lord leads–even if it means leaving the comfortable and familiar behind. The Lord is calling us both into a life of ministry. Christian will begin his studies at Reformed Theological Seminary. We’ll move at this end of this month and we know this is where God would have us be.

And so I pray:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.

*We had Jenna take photos of us in our home so that we could always remember it. And I definitely didn’t stuff everything in the closet before she got here.