There is a scene in the Lord of the Rings in which Bilbo says something to the effect of, "I feel tired, Gandalf. Stretched thin, like butter over bread."
Of course, he is referencing the effect the ring is having on him. It is bearing down on him, heavy and burdensome. It is such a weight.
In one sense we can absolutely relate right now. We feel heavy. We are spending the next day or so finishing packing and cleaning our place and moving out of Columbus. We have so many memories, so many joyful times in this city. This was where our kids were born. This is where we call home. This is where our church and staff and ministry family are. In all seriousness, many parts of this city have been, for us, little slices of heaven. And now we are departing, packing up and moving on. How can this possibly be done well?
We spent last night having the kids say goodbye to every room in the house. I had to fight back the tears. God had moved in this house. He had run his redemption story through the hallways and through the walls. He had begun to work and fashion our family to where he wanted it to be. Now we move on, and I ask again, how can this be done well?
The kids are handling it better than we are, honestly. And yes I do think that it has sunk in for Noah. More than a couple times this week he has said things like, "But Papa I love this house" with all seriousness across his face. He will need to grieve as well. Yesterday he was begging us to take the carpet in our living room. Believe me little buddy, I want to, and everything else as well.
So we look to our refuge and protector. Our guide. The way. We look to Him who can make and remake all things. To the love of our hearts. And we sadly say our farewells to those things and places that have so been a part of His love in our lives as we follow him to a new chapter. We do this with heavy hearts. Like butter stretched over bread.
Maybe that's how we do this well? Maybe by casting our gaze on the one that ultimately is our final resting place, our true home? Maybe in His arms and care we can find the peace for our currently sentimental hearts? That must be it. It's our experience that nothing else compares. Give us the world, and we'll still be wanting, but give us the Bread of Life and we'll find flowing within streams of living water, we'll find that we never hunger nor thirst again.
Goodbye Columbus and our dear friends. The one we love is leading us on a different path for now, perhaps we shall embrace again. But perhaps the embrace we all want is the one found only on distant shores, where the sea turns to glass - and all fades away. And then we see Him, and joy ever after.