I’ve been knocking around these last few weeks in Georgia with a low level weight on my chest and a skim coat of panic in the back of my throat, and if you ask me, I couldn’t tell you exactly why. Our last days in Virginia were frantic, filled with last minute difficulties and logistical failures. I’m in the middle now, of moving, caught between unresolved goodbyes and impending hellos. Loose at the edges, feeling un-contained, unsettled, and unmoored.
The kids are too – my babes veering between the excitement and unbridled hero worship of older cousins, the free-for-all fun of “vacation,” and the sobering reality that home is a rootless, fluid concept, and goodbyes are hard. So long as I’ll live, I’ll have the image of two seven year old boys imprinted on my heart – red-faced and sobbing when their last playdate was over, knowing it was the last time they’d see each other for a good long while, two boys who love hard but don’t make friends so easy. And us, their mamas, caught by surprise at the intensity of emotion and flooded with our own tears because try as we might, we can’t make it not hurt. Wondering if we should have done life differently.
Our babes keep saying it …
“I want to go home.”
But truth be told, they know that Virginia wasn’t home the way most of us know it. So they cling tighter than usual to me because we are the constant in their rapidly changing world.
In the middle of all of this, we traveled to Cumberland Island with extended family- a vacation during “vacation” on a mostly pristine barrier island off the coast of south Georgia. Five days careening between sweaty misery, irrepressible joy, and dumbstruck awe at the beauty of God’s creation and the careful work of conservation. And as these things do, it tugged my battered heart back to a good God, who is, ultimately, our Home. The same merciful creative God who painted the sky for us at sunset carved a deliberate, plentiful path for our family through the suburbs of Northern Virginia, full of blessing. He created us, and all this, that we might be for the praise of His glory.*
And too, the beauty and grace in the resilience of our children produces a strength of character and kindness for which I am eternally grateful. And in the end, we are far richer for having known, and been known, by the ones we leave behind.
I wish I could tell my babes what the end of the middle looks like. I know, as always, there are good gifts ahead. But friends? Please pray for us as we navigate the gray spaces between the endings and beginnings – between the grief and grace and joy poured out in this Army life. We – the kids especially- are struggling.