In just 10 days my husband and I will pull out from the city we have called home for almost ten years. While I am incredibly excited about what we are moving towards and all God is calling us into, tonight I am thinking about goodbyes. There will be many tearful goodbyes this next week. But one that I am having a hard time processing is the goodbye we will have to say to our home. Our friends we will come and visit. I will cherish their voices on the phone. But my home… Well, I think the new owners wouldn’t like my visits so much.
How do you say goodbye to a place?
How is it that a place gets inside you so much? When I look at the walls of my soul, I see the walls of my living room. Many a tear has been shed here. Some of my deepest pain and deepest griefs have been nursed under this roof. I have brought my babies home to this place. The paths traced by my tears, both of joy and of pain, are like a fingerprint for my soul now. My soul which seems the perfect shade of blue, not Kentucky Wildcat blue, more like a cornflower blue. If you’ve ever seen my living room, you’d know the color. I am sure that this fingerprint will be ever evolving. But I am sure also, that those lines will never disappear. They will certainly be incorporated into a larger weaving that God is doing, but they will never disappear. They are like scars, little reminders of what God has done. Some of it leaving me breathless in wonder at His great love. And other parts leaving me just breathless. This God so great, so strong, so just.
The words of Kahlil Gibran from The Prophet hit my soul in its most tender places:
How shall I go in peace and without sorrow?
Nay, not without a wound in the spirit shall I leave this city.
Long were the days of pain I have spent within its walls, and long were the nights of aloneness; and who can depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret?
Too many fragments of the spirit have I scattered in these streets, and too many are the children of my longing that walk naked among these hills, and I cannot withdraw from them without a burden and an ache.
It is not a garment I cast off this day, but a skin that I tear with my own hands.
Nor is it a thought I leave behind me, but a heart made sweet with hunger and thirst.
And perhaps my favorite part about my home. It hasn’t been just mine. Or just my family’s. We have shared our home with so many. It has been a place of refuge for not just myself, and not just for those called Parham. It has been a safe sanctuary for many weary travelers. For those in my neighborhood, for those in my church. And for those just passing through.
But alas, we have seen the Spirit of God stirring. It is time for this tabernacle to move. And as we share our souls with those we meet, we will share the spirit of this home. For it is not its perfectly blue walls we have loved (although I have loved them!), it has been the spirit of God which has held us here. And this spirit has promised to dwell with us wherever we go. Here’s to a wonder-filled decade in what has become my old Kentucky home.