A Love Letter of Sorts
We sold our little house in the country today. And as I walked out the door for the last time, I couldn't help but feel just a little bit teary-eyed over my final look at the kitchen. Of all the things in that house, it was the kitchen that I loved most. And it was the kitchen that loved me best. I learned so much in that kitchen. About life. About love. About nourishment.
It was in that kitchen that I learned how to cook. I mean, I used to cook at our little house in Atlanta - but it wasn't until we moved here that I really took seriously the charge to feed my people well. Cooking became my creative outlet. It became the thing I did when I didn't know what else to do. When I felt lonely and depressed, I turned to the kitchen. And she never let me down.
That kitchen saw me in all my best - and all my worst. I can remember falling to the floor, sobbing, as I cried out to my husband - and to God - time after time.
I don't know how to be ME here. I don't even know who I am anymore. I HATE it here. HATE it. Is it ever going to get better? I just want to go home!
And yet as that final moment came in this place that I couldn't get away from fast enough ... I couldn't help but remember the time that we hosted our very first "Sunday Funday." We had just come home from our first trip back to Georgia, and it was our attempt at really building community in that community-lacking town. It was in that kitchen where I learned how important it is to invite people over - even when the house wasn’t in its best shape. I learned how to feed people - not only with amazing food, but with friendship. I learned how to let people in, how to help them make themselves at home.
I learned that people here in New England don't just show up on your doorstep unexpectedly - but if you invite them over, they will come. Sometimes even at the drop of a hat. They will come to help you fold laundry. They will come to have tea and cake with you. They will eat the food you created when you were feeling a little down in the dumps. They'll help you pack your boxes. They'll learn to love you something fierce. And when they do - they'll never let you go.
There was something about leaving this cute little house for the last time that made me well up inside. In so many ways, leaving this house made me feel like a big fat failure. I wanted so badly to love it there. I wanted to come to New England and settle and live. I wanted to give my kids stability. I wanted them - and me - to find friends that would last forever. I had no intention on moving a gazillion times and never really being able to feel at home. And there was something about leaving that house that made me feel like I was giving up.
It reminds me a little of what I felt like when my divorce was final. I knew it was the best decision. I knew there was so much life ahead, so much better life - so much love and joy that we are already experiencing on the other side - but in that moment of locking the door for the very last time ... I just felt awful that I couldn’t make it work.
That house ... it was such a safe place in the wilderness for us. It was a gift really - but then the wilderness always is. It was a safe place to wrestle with what we really wanted life to be about. A place where we learned to really listen to God's call. A place where God formed us, crafted us, refined us. We really learned who we were ... and in so many ways were reminded Whose we were.
As I drove away, I couldn't help but think about that old Kenny Rogers classic,
You've got to know when to hold'em,
know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run...
It was our time to walk away. Sometimes failure isn't a bad thing. Sometimes admitting defeat is the only way we can move forward and live the fullness that God has promised. And when it comes right down to it, that's really what the Resurrection is all about.
So long little kitchen. So long little house. We loved you well for the 15 months that you were ours. We will forever be grateful for the way you loved us. For the things you taught us. For the protection and joy that you gave us. We can only hope your new owner loves you even better than we did.