We just finished moving my parents from their home (our home) of 32 years. House empty. Papers signed. Deal done.
And even though I haven’t called that space home for over a decade and half now, I still feel like we’ve said goodbye to a friend. A refuge. Home base. A constant in a world that never seems to want to stop spinning and changing.
Why is it so hard to say goodbye, (you know you’re singing Boys 2 Men right now) even to an inanimate piece of architecture? For a few reasons I think:
Every smell, every creak, every space holds a richness of life-defining memories. The b-roll of life I can’t always conjure up unless I’m physically there.
Endless hours of rubber band wars with green plastic army men.
Scavenging for hidden Christmas presents while my parents were out to dinner (that Todd Tyson kid was always a bad influence).
Baking gingerbread cookies during the Holidays.
Practicing my fastball in the side yard next to the air conditioning unit (still sorry for all those low and insides dad).
Watching Michael Jackson do the moonwalk at the ’83 Grammy’s (which spawned my enviable fourth grade parachute pant collection).
The walk home with dad after learning of my mom’s first bout with cancer.
The memories travel with us, but they do pixilate over time. And access to the space they were created gives us a renewed development of the slowly deteriorating images. What if I can’t recall? What if I can’t remember? What if I lose the ability to retrieve defining moments that are so much a part of who I am? Of who we are? It can be scary.
But beyond the sentimentality, I think closing a chapter of our lives triggers something deeply spiritual in us as well. We were created for eternity (Ecc. 3:11), and saying a goodbye of any kind reminds us of our curse. That sin emerged and ruined God’s original design. That things just aren’t the way they were supposed to be. That this life is terminal.
That goodbye is inevitable.
Thank God He provided The Way to ensure goodbye can also just be a temporary concept.