Tonight, I find myself sitting on my old bed, in my old bedroom, in my childhood home. For exactly twenty years, this was the house I called home. Its carpets are stained by spilled milk and muddy shoes. The walls know the sound of our laughter and the raised voices of teenagers versus parents. The windows know eyes that have gazed longingly into both sunrises and sunsets.
Tonight, I sit alone listening to the memories that this home keeps. I am surrounded by boxes of things I never thought would be boxed up. The drawers are empty, and the rooms cleared. My possessions are already in my apartment seven hours away; the rest is in storage. This feels, heartbreakingly, like an ending.
But it is not.
I am of the mind that this is not the end of the world (though at times it certainly feels like it). Saying goodbye to the home that I took my first steps in, and that my mom took some of her last breaths in, has, without a doubt, broken my heart. However, I am more grateful than sad. I am more hopeful than despairing. This goodbye is simply making way for a new hello. I am so thankful for the two decades I was blessed to call this place my home. I can never thank God enough for the family that lived within these walls, and the good friends that visited. I will always cherish the days and the nights I spent here. They are memories I will carry with me forever – but they are not memories that I will dwell on.
You see, if I’ve learned anything in this last year, it’s that the past is exactly that – the past. It has already come and gone. My friend Zach actually once drew me a diagram illustrating the timeline of the past, and how we can choose to act or be acted upon as we live in the present and move toward the future. We can’t dwell on what has already happened. We learn from it, yes, but we don’t cling to it.
Whatever it is you are stuck on, I want you to say goodbye to it. Look forward to the future that will greet you with its light and endless possibilities.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
You have not seen the best of your days. There is still more to come. You have not reached an ending. You are not finished. As I say goodbye to my home tonight, I know that this is not the end. This chapter of my life may be closing, but my story goes on. Yours does, too.
This is not really goodbye. It is to be continued. Whatever life has in store for us, it can only get better. So, remember, you are not out of the fight. You are still moving.
My story is the same as yours…to be continued.