My family moved here to Georgia when I was 8 years old. I don’t remember a whole lot about it, except that I’d slammed my thumb in a car door while my sisters and I were playing the night before we moved (oh, my poor parents!), an accident that ended up costing me my thumb nail a couple weeks later. I don’t remember being all that sad or scared about the move. I’d made one already when I was 5, from California to Kansas. I know I was excited about a new adventure. I hadn’t lived long enough yet to make many memories, but the ones I do have of living in Kansas are sweet - I remember the day I finally conquered my fear and learned how to ride a bike while the neighborhood kids shouted encouragement, the fun we had making snow ice cream in the winter, the carrots we grew in our little backyard garden (sweetest ones I ever remember eating), the scary yet exciting nighttime storms that would flash light so bright it turned our rooms brilliant purple for an instant, and the three perfect climbing trees in our backyard that my sisters and I would be up in for hours with our pillows, books, and bags of snacks. When we moved I think the only “indelible mark” that I left was the few drops of blood that dripped from my throbbing thumb onto the garage floor that night, and I’m sure those are long since gone.
I’ve been living here for 33 years now. And I’ve learned that there is no way to wrap a span of time that takes me all the way through my preteens and teens, 20s, and 30s into a cute little package of memories. It’s my life. And if I try to just open the door a crack and only let a few memories in, they all come barging through and I’m in danger of being overwhelmed.
But somehow now I have to, because I’m leaving here and moving to a completely new place, all the way across These United States, to Oregon.
About a year and a half ago my husband and I started feeling like something was going to change, to shift, and the idea that there might be a move in the future came up, but we had no idea when, where, or how far. Through twistings and turnings and circumstances over the next many months, we found God leading us to this new state. My dad was born there, and I’ve been there a few times in my life to visit extended family, but it is entirely new for my husband and kids, and might as well be for me too. So we are leaving what has become so comfortably familiar and going somewhere that is almost unknown to us, but we hear the call from the One we love, so we follow. And there is Excitement because it’s an adventure. And there is Anticipation of what God has for us there.
And there is Sadness, because of what we are leaving.
I will miss some places here, and I’ll miss some of the food, and I’ll miss our familiar routine and all the beautiful opportunities that God has opened up for me here. And I'm sure there are things that I won't even know I'll miss until we've left.
But mostly I will miss people. The friendships I have built over 33 years. It doesn’t even matter whether they are people I’ve known since I first came here, or ones I just met in the last year - they have all become part of my life in some capacity and it will be hard to let go.
How do I say goodbye to all these people who have made an impression, who have blessed me and my little family so much? How do I leave my beautiful family members who live here and who I love with all my heart, and those friends who are so close to my heart that they have become like family? In the midst of the excitement of new things, and the inescapable stress of moving, there are the emotions that hit me, sometimes out of nowhere, and I have to take a moment to accept them and let them in. And although sometimes they are almost overwhelming, I am thankful for them, because it means there has been an “indelible mark” made, one that will never be erased.
I am so thankful for that. I am thankful that I leave part of my heart here, and that in its place I take a part of others’ hearts with me. I am thankful that God created memories. I am thankful for the love I have learned to give and take here. I am thankful for the love that overwhelms me when I think of each precious friend and know we are all together in the hands of the God who created that love, who IS that Love.
I am thankful for the new path that, though unknown to me right now, is led by my good Father, and in that I can rest, and trust, and walk.