"To return means to revisit the strange feeling of being both visitor and resident, as if we are absentee owners holding titles to the property of the past. On the one hand, we know that this place will never again be home. On the other, we know it will always be home."
Bob Welch from Things That Matter Most
It is a strange dichotomy, this returning home.
Like a fragrance from the past, it follows you, your story.
So different from others, beautifully unique.
It is yours. The sights. The smells. The living.
It is your life. Live it well. Tell your story.
We left. And some would say 'failed'. As we struggle to relate, to love, to put back together and trust, we know that leaving does not mean deserting. It doesn't mean one ceases to care, or that this dream has been abandoned. It doesn't mean we don't think about our life and how we can best spend it. It doesn't mean we don't feel the pain of deferred hope, or the sadness of missed friends. Somehow these pieces will fit back together in their own time.
"We have a few weeks and then we will need to make some hard decisions."
I knew it would come to this. It always does. Risks, decisions, the future.
Being an adult doesn't release one from the responsibility of decisions.
"I know," I said.
A few weeks pass, and we choose. We must.
I understand the gravity of our decision. We'd done a whole lot of living in that apartment. Meals and laughter shared with friends, and sorrow shared by a close few.
"Here's our shelves, and our dryer, you can have them," I say. These pieces of my life, they are small. I haven't had a lot. She lets me hold her baby, that baby's hair all mussed from a nap. "Where did you have her?" I ask. And she tells me at the hospital around the corner last August. I look into the baby's chocolate eyes that melt my heart, and I say, "She's beautiful." And I know that she was probably there when I was there. I hand the baby back, and leave with my husband, feeling the sadness of hope deferred, yet the joy of life given.
We sort out and give away belongings, and know that life isn't what we have or can pack into four large duffel bags. I stress over what to pack, and what to give away. My husband tells me stuff is replaceable, and to take what matters. So he helps his girl, this girl who is so sentimental over every little thing that has been given with love. And I let go. They don't tell you the joy you'll get from giving is sometimes mingled with sorrow. That the gift you give, sometimes you must give out of your pain. And sometimes, the leaving brings hope that you cannot experience if you stayed. They don't tell you that moving tires you, and feels so much like ending and beginning.
They don't tell you that what is on the other side will be better than you can expect or imagine. The ocean must be crossed, the risk must be taken, the life must be laid down to understand it isn't in the moving, it is in how you've lived and what you've lived for.
How do you choose courageous living in a world that encourages comfort and safety?