Rod Dreher

Today was the day that we moved. This explains the blog silence; I was up very late last night packing, and up early this morning to finish. We closed the doors on the moving cubes and locked them around 3:30, then went to pick the kids up at a friend’s house. Having said our goodbyes there, we brought them back to our little bungalow to see it one last time.
There have been tears, and not a few of them, in these past few weeks as we’ve told people we love goodbye, but walking into our house this afternoon and seeing it empty hit my children like a bombshell. I was loading something else in the car, and didn’t see their reaction until I came back inside, and found all three of them on the floor clinging to Julie, sobbing. As was Julie, even as she tried to comfort them. Nora kept crying over and over, “I hate it when we move. I hate it when we move.” Julie did something that made me so proud of her, and reminded me of why I am so blessed to have her. Though she was as upset as the children were, she found the strength and the grace to tell them that yes, we love this house, because it was our home for almost six years, and we have had so many good times in it. But kids, you have to trust that mom and dad are taking you to a good place, with good people who are waiting for us to arrive so they can be our friends. It is hard to leave this place we love (she continued), and all the people we love here, but God has good things for us in Philadelphia, and let’s trust Him that He’s making a good home for us there. Daddy is going to pray now to thank God for giving us these wonderful years in this house.
Somehow, I had to come out of that and pray. Though I’ve had my emotional ups and downs facing the prospect of leaving Dallas, I hadn’t really wept … until that moment, and seeing how much my children and my wife were hurting, but how bravely and gracefully she bore up to comfort the devastated little ones. So I choked out a couple of lines of thanksgiving, and petitioning God to bring into this house a family that will love it as much as we do. Then I gently cajoled the kids to stand up and let’s go say goodbye to Miss Arcelia, our dear housekeeper and beloved friend, who was giving the place one final polish. She was crying. We were crying. We hugged her and told her how much we loved her, and she said she loved us too, and everybody meant it, and meant it hard. Then we walked out the front, closed the door on this chapter of our lives, and drove away.
I hate this. But Julie is right: if we weren’t convinced that there is divine intent and purpose behind this move, and the opportunity it represents, we wouldn’t have taken it. God knows we wouldn’t have put these children through the pain of saying goodbye to the only home and the only friends they’ve ever known. There were tears today, and there probably will be more of them on this journey, as we come to terms with the true meaning of all we’ve left behind. I can’t quite believe I won’t wake up and pad across that wooden floor to pour coffee out of that pot before the sun comes up, and won’t put my feet up to warm on the hearth while I read the paper, and won’t hear the voices of three children shouting, “Daddy!” echoing off the living room walls when I come in from work. I can’t quite believe I won’t stand anymore at Sunday liturgy at St. Seraphim’s, and kibitz at coffee hour, and go to Central Market for a bottle of wine and a baguette on the way home from work on Friday night, and then to Premiere Video for a movie. No more Chipotle lunches with my friends from the office. That’s all done now. And I gotta say, lying here in my hotel room in Texarkana, where we stopped off because the storm was too ferocious to press on to Little Rock, that makes me sad.
But: the road ahead is open, and there are good things and good people at the end of it. Onward. If I did not also have faith that we will all be together again one day, in a time and a place where there are no goodbyes, I would find things like today unbearable.
Blogging will be light for the next couple of days. We’ve got a lot of driving to do. My book-on-disc companion is Niall Ferguson, who is educating me about “The Ascent of Money” on this run. I prefer to think that Julie and I are recreating the “eastbound and down” hegira of “Smokey and the Bandit,” which is the Odyssey of my people.

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