As I wander through my daily less “homey” and hourly more full of boxes Vermont home, something stirs in my heart. Well… Lots of things, actually. But mostly related to this same thought… The word “bittersweet” plays in my mind on repeat. You know. That thing people say when someone is moving or leaving a position or just making pretty much any major life change. It’s the obligatory thing to say. “It’s bittersweet.” And yes. It is.
It tastes bitter to leave the friends and the joys of my current home. But it's sweet to follow the Lord’s calling to new adventures and the relationships and opportunities before me.
But it’s more than that too. It’s celebrating the new fullness of the empty spaces in my house. The things they mean to me now. The reasons they look empty. Let me see if I can explain that.
When I first moved here, there were lots of empty spaces in this house. Some of them filled quickly as I opened boxes of all of our practical belongings and filled shelves and closets with dishes and clothes and books and other items useful for every day life. Other spaces filled much more gradually. Over time. After experiences. A picture… A handmade gift… A candleholder from a new friend… A souvenir from a road trip… An ornament… A card… A book…
Meaningful moments of fullness in all those empty spaces—each attached to a person, a relationship, in many cases someone I now consider family. Bitter to leave them? Well, sure. Of course. But how sweet of God to give them to me in the first place! And how sweet to know He wants to do it again!
I don’t know why God called me to this particular life. I have not been “settled” in the same place all of my life, nor have I bounced around every year or two on a grand, ever-changing adventure. I’ll be moving to my 5th state in just a few weeks (with some minor moves in between within those states), so I’d guess my life rests pretty close to center on that spectrum of ever settled vs. never-ending movement. Had I mapped out my entire life when I was 16, 20, even 25 years old, I’m certain it would have born no resemblance to my current reality. But I’m so grateful, because each of these relocations extended my family and allowed me to love and be loved beyond my imagination. What a gift!
By God’s design, my family keeps growing and spreading. Certainly aspects of that are incredibly difficult. But when I think of the treasured people in my life that I never would have met had I not moved around as much as I did, and when I anticipate the hope of that happening again, that tastes pretty sweet to me.
The empty spaces in this house were just empty when I got here. But somehow now the emptier shelves are creating a fuller heart in me as I grin and giggle over every vibrant, cherished memory I’m placing into a box of yet another family that God allowed me to love and know. I’m so thankful for the family of God and for the fact that geographical distance within that family is so very temporary.