I didn’t expect to cry when we left.
I’m not a crier. I don’t have a problem with it, it’s just I don’t usually do it. It’s not really how I roll. But as I looked around at our empty townhouse on Tuesday afternoon, I couldn’t help it.
Yeah, I know: I’m probably making too big a deal of something so tiny. Maybe I was just super-hungry and had limited control over my emotions. Even now, as I consider the day and all our traveling, I’m at a loss for anything profound to say by way of explanation.
It wasn’t that I wanted to stay. But I think it struck me in a more profound way just how big a part of our lives that house—and London itself—had been in our lives. We’d been in this city for 17 years (minus a few months for summers in college). I’d never lived in one town as long as I’d lived there. Emily and I met and started dating there. Jesus saved us. We got married and became parents, and a thousand other things besides.
We’d spent the last five years in that townhouse. Like London, it wasn’t perfect, but it was home (or at least as close to it as either of us have ever felt). It was where we landed after selling our home. Where we waited for God to send us to wherever we thought we were supposed to go. We brought Hudson home to this house. It was the only one he and Hannah ever really knew. Where Abigail lost her first tooth. Where we saw God work through us and in us in some pretty cool (and often painful) ways.
We laughed, we fought, we told silly stories, we cried…
Sure, we made fun of it a lot. Even so, it was home.
Then, in an instant, it wasn’t.
It was just four walls.
Home was somewhere else. And we were on the way to find it.
On Thursday afternoon, we arrived at our new apartment, in a new city, in a different country. Everything is different. But the five of us are here. Hudson and I wrestled on the floor of my new bedroom. The girls and I cuddled on the floor of our empty living room. We’ve received dinner invitations and more well-wishing than I thought possible. We get to go to church on Sunday and start making new friends and try to avoid the comparison game that inevitably creeps into everything.
I’m not sure if it’s home yet. It’s only been half a day, after all.
But it could be. And that’s exciting.