The weekend we've been working toward for months now has arrived. Tonight our house -- the house we've lived in and loved in for seven years now -- went on the market. Tomorrow is shrouded in mystery, the whole weekend a giant question mark. We live in a very hot market. Anything could happen in the next three days ... or nothing at all.
The realtor and her husband pounded the sign into the front yard this afternoon, and as I held my sobbing youngest child, I had to fight back tears of my own. Yes, this house has never tempted me with pride -- although I've certainly given thanks for it over and over. But it's been our home.
We've raised three children into the middle years in it, the baby and toddler years but receding signposts in our rearview mirror. We've spent countless Thursday nights with a crowd around our smallish dinner table, and seen a new marriage come out of it. We've planted and weeded and painted and dusted and prayed and wept and laughed and given what we had and received a double portion in return. We've waged epic Nerf wars. Or at least, dodged the bullets and then pulled them out of the couch cushions days later.
And now, cleaner than it's ever been and decluttered past the point of simplicity, it feels like we're living in a nearly-empty shell of a house. Hoping someone will come and like it -- fall in love with the house that has been our home, an extension of our selves ... although by now, as we tiptoe around our show-ready abode in sock feet and whisk everything personal from sight, it already feels like home is slipping away.
Where to next? We don't know. Somewhere in the same city, apparently. Odd, aren't we? All we seem to know is that we were supposed to get our house ready to sell and here we are, it's ready, and the edge of the cliff is before us, and it seems we're meant to leap. Leap into the arms of love. Or, like Bilbo Baggins -- from a tree that's catching fire to the wings of a swooping, farsighted eagle. Surely an armchair by the fireplace in a hobbit hole in the ground in the Shire would be more comfortable than this?
But after all, we long after a better country. "It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land .... He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached land God promised him, lived there by faith -- for he was like a foreigner, living in tents." (Hebrews 11:8-9)
I'm with Abraham -- just here, tending my heartbroken little seven-year-old sheep, looking a bit like a wanderer, following a God who doesn't show me the map and wondering, on this unexpected journey, where our next tent will be.