On Thursday morning, I walked into our new home, in Pittsburgh, for the very first time. At first glance, I wasn’t too impressed. As the realtor walked me around, I told myself, “I can make this work. We need a home. This is just first impressions.” Once I had signed the lease, and he had left, I walked around and had the most horrible feeling. “What have I done?” “I don’t like this place!” “Look at these white walls and this dated kitchen!” While Felicity explored the house, I escaped to the closet in my new room and had a breakdown – something I hadn’t done since the day after Jaime passed away. I began sobbing and then thinking of a way out of all of this. “I can call him back and tell him I change my mind – that I hate the place and I want to cancel the lease.” Then I heard something. Something I really needed to hear. Felicity was laughing and running around, hiding in closets and going up and down the stairs in the basement. “Why is she so happy?” I wondered. I found her and she called the place, “Our new house.” Once again Felicity got it before I did! Then, everything began to click. It wasn’t about the paint – although the paint is horrible! And it really wasn’t about the kitchen –the kitchen is dated, but manageable. I had never been forced to enter a new home without Jaime. Wow! It is harder than I ever thought it would be! Because she never lived here, I really feel the loss of her presence. I immediately called friends and asked them to reassure me that everything was going to be “ok.” While few understand the loss of a spouse, they offered encouragement to me that all will be ok and that once Felicity and I get into a routine and have our things in the house (and some new paint on the walls!) we will see this new journey very differently.
When we got to the house this morning, I set out cleaning windows and moping the hardwood floors. I was in my bedroom cleaning, when I sent a request to God – “Please God, help me make this place our home even though right now I can’t picture it as our home.” Then, there was that comforting whisper – “I am not only going to help you make this a home. I am going to repair YOUR life and show you how to live again.” I can remember one of my doctoral professors telling us that there are always going to be “roars” in our life – seeking to keep us from enjoying the process of whatever it is we are doing. At this point, our new home has become a roar in my life; seeking to make me doubt our arrival and God’s provision of a home for the short-term. I have run from the roar before and it was great in the beginning. I mean I didn’t have to do what was difficult. Then, I soon realized that my retreat impacted others and created unnecessary stress. It also caused others to question whether I was up to the challenge of leading – something I strongly believe I have been called to do. It would be like a soldier being promoted to commander of a battalion, only to be the first to retreat when he saw the enemy. Don’t get me wrong. Our new home is not my enemy. But you can be assured our shared enemy is using the needs of our new home and the persistent reminder that Jaime is not with us as a way to cause doubt and despair.
With His strength, I will face this temporary “roar.” I think back to all He has brought Felicity and I through and I know that this move is neither insignificant nor impossible for Him to handle. Thanks so much for your prayers! I’ll be sure to share pictures of our home as soon as it gets some much-needed love!