We've traveled the same 300 miles between central-east Missouri and northwest Arkansas twice in as many days. It's been a grand tour of this state we're fumbling awkwardly to call home - I've dug my old GPS out of the dark trenches of the blue explorer, and powered up the friendly British man I lovingly refer to as 'Jips' (as in g-p-s). Every command to 'enter the motorway' reminds me yet again of the foreignness of the streets. I'm driving on the right side of the road, at least - though given the choice I fear the Henry Higgins of my dashboard would prefer I take the left. We've just spent a delightful too few hours with my extended in-laws, and how I ever got lucky enough to marry into this family I will never know. They are perhaps the only people I know who can fall into 4-part harmony on a whim - at the dinner table, sitting on the couch, or in more than one impromptu hymn sing. Though I am no singer - and the pesky cold I've had for days made my squeaks and squawks even harder on the ears - it's impossible not to join the generations in praise.
Meanwhile, 2000 miles away and with far less singing, I would imagine, my extended family is gathered on the coast. And I wish with everything in my little heart that we were two places at once - or maybe even more.
But instead we're halfway home, to a new house still spilling over with half-unpacked-boxes and a hundred hopes for this new stage of life.
There's a line from The Weepies that I just love - "I held so many people in my suitcase heart."
My suitcase heart is full. If home is where the heart is, mine is beating in a dozen different place tonight.
Price's grandfather read us a story last night - his memory of the Christmas of 1940. It was a sweet and precious story, the words and feelings of a young boy, told with the wisdom of the last 70 years. It was the story of his family's last Christmas before the war, when all the children were home together for the last time. One line sunk into my heart - he said, "the Crom family was falling apart, as it was intended."
I've been struck this last week by my excitement - my lack of sadness over leaving my childhood home for the new streets and stores and stories of a different city. I miss so much, of course - mostly people. But I love being on a new adventure with my husband of 3 years. Nothing is familiar. We're stepping out on our own - away from all the homes and people we've ever known. And it's good - it's healthy. It's important. Probably not for everyone, but I believe it is for us. It is "as it was intended." All the talk of leaving and cleaving from our pre-marital counseling came back to me this week and I've pondered and prayed that this will be a formative season in our marriage - one that strengthens and protects it in the face of something so scary and sweet at the same time.
Sure, the sweetness will wear off. The streets will become familiar. My dashboard Henry Higgins will again disappear between the seats. But for now it is new and full of promise.
We have been blessed beyond measure with the families who loved and raised us, who hoped and prayed for us to find each other, and who trust that ultimately our home is in each other and in the Lord.
My oldest and dearest friend made us this to hang in our new house. It has brought me to tears and left me speechless every time I've looked at it. All the streets we've called home over the years - Nashville and Franklin and Florence and New Hampshire and more. And yet the ever present and perfect promise of Psalm 90:1 ... "You, oh Lord, have always been our home."