The Long Goodbye

My husband is in Colorado tonight, he spent the day packing up the very end of our connection to our home there. It was a super quick trip; he flew in last night, had today to gets lots done, and drives out early tomorrow morning in a rented truck to bring our stuff back to CA to store. It’s our final, physical farewell to a home our family moved out of in 2011.  It’s been a long goodbye, and yet I’m still emotional about it. It’s bittersweet, we’re excited about our future and where God is taking us. But my children grew up in that home. Yeah, that’s a big part of why it’s only Norbert on this whirlwind trip – he’s saving me the emotions and him the dealing with my emotions. I married a smart man.

We bought our home in 2005, barely two years after limping back to the US from a painfully-ended season as missionaries in Hungary. God used our time in Colorado, our time in that home, for much healing and growth. And then, when it was time to return back to Hungary, it was after the housing-bubble had burst and we were upside down on our mortgage. We couldn’t sell then, even though we sort of wanted to. So we became long-distance landlords. And then we realized keeping our house as a home-base for our family, for our young-adult kids, was a wise choice – so we re-thought wanting to sell and settled into keeping our home long-distance. Both our boys were able to return ‘home’, Josiah would call his childhood house his home for three years longer than all the rest of us as he settled in there. Joshua joined him, and then realized Europe was still calling him and left again – but he still had that safe place to land and figure that out about himself. Our home in Colorado continued to harbor our family…until it didn’t. We’d make visits back to the US and ‘return’ home, and yet with each visit it wasn’t really ‘home’ a little bit more. The frustrations and stress grew to over-shadow the blessings. We’ve wondered at the timing of selling for several years now. It’s time. And I’m looking back in wonder at this long goodbye God has granted me. Maybe you like to rip band-aids off, and maybe it would have been helpful to have been able to just sell our house when we left in 2011. But God knew I needed more time, and He’s been so gentle and has let me see my beloved home lived in by messy college-age guys, He’s let me adjust and dis-connect in stages. And now the selling of one home can, Lord-willing, fund the purchase of another – letting a dream of many, many years come true. A dream that goes back before 2005. Gentle and wondrous timing, this long goodbye.

If you think of it, keep Norbert in prayer this weekend as he drives from Denver to LA on his own, in a rental truck. And I may be able to see the Lord’s hand and His guiding in the timing, but my heart is still tender, it’s still a Goodbye. So Josiah, who once dreamed of never living anywhere else, will join me for a mother-son jaunt in our other favorite place tomorrow – we’ll raise our Tiki Room Pineapple Whip Floats to the memory of the home he grew up in. Because it may be a long goodbye, but since it began, our family has learned to be intentional and do goodbyes well.