Brown cardboard stacks silent like morose soldiers awaiting marching orders. Everything we own shoehorned inside. It’s taken days to pack but weeks to admit I want to scream and tear open those boxes and chuck plates and books and toys across the room.
We say goodbye to the house we thought you gave us God, the house of our dreams, the one we worked so hard for, the one we thought we’d live in forever. Why now? Why this job loss? Why this financial strain?
The worst day was telling the kids we had to move. The way D lowered his eyes like a puppy dog and the way S slammed her door and didn’t talk to me for four days. We collected boxes from the supermarket. Went to the produce section and got sent around back. Stacks of banana boxes and apple boxes. And then we went to the neighbors and collected plastic containers they no longer needed.
We aren’t moving far. The rental house is just a few blocks down past the school, and then another right turn at the donut shop next to the Starbucks where I used to go before work. But you know that, God. And I’m trying not to be mad at you, but I really thought we were in the clear. I thought the work would keep coming, especially for H. We had worked hard for so many years to buy our own house. And then to foreclose? To have to give it back and move out and squeeze into another house so much farther away from the kids’ schools?
But you know what is hurting most.
H isn’t talking much anymore. I think he’s depressed, God. I think he thinks he’s failed us somehow; he fears I respect him less because he lost his job and the whole family feels like the world is upside down.
I know we don’t deserve a thing, Father. I know you provide for us everything we need. I know you give and you take away. I know I should be trusting you more, here.
But it might be awhile until I feel okay again. I’m trying to have faith in you, but it’s hard to have faith when I want to just yell at you and scream, Why?
I know the room feels silent, daughter, and you wonder if I am here. I have heard the prayers, my love. I have collected the tears in the night, measured the sobs of your dear ones, felt the confusion, the accusations, the fear.
Come with me, now, where I want to take you. Sometimes moving is more than a move to a new physical place. Sometimes the move is closer, deeper in. And sometimes, initially, moving to new places feels darker and more ominous, too.
But keep your eyes on me.
I have a light that shines bright, my love, and I shine it forth, marking the way ahead. I shine it for your sweet girl and dear boys. I shine it for your husband. I shine it for you, for your listening to me, for your art, for your work in how you listen and love and serve.
Stay here, where I am, where I shine bright the light. Stay here, where I am, and I will direct you and bring forth hope in the dark places. All the dark places where fear wants you to sink further in.
I lift you out, my love.
Yes, keep your eyes on me.
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