A Year Later
By Elisa Morgan
I walk toward the steps, with my dog, Coach, at my side. We’ve already come up the big hill from our house, pausing to sniff and snort and roll over once or twice. Coach, not me. Then, turning to the right, we cross the pavers towards the descending stairs that will take us in a loop, back home.
Pulling Coach up next to me, I pause and look at the grand vista from the overlook. I respond to the invitation to see the “more” before me. Crimson reds stand out next to evergreen trees. Golden globed maples sway in unison with searing yellow cottonwoods, their blackened bark contrasting against the azure sky. And in the distance, Colorado’s mountains stretch for miles.
It’s been a year. A year since my husband and I made the careful decision to down-size and move from our family home where we’d raised and loved two generations below us. A year since we startled ourselves by selecting a townhome in a completely different part of town and made an offer. A year since “the purge” and the packing and the schlepping and the exhausting, driven work of making a new space into “home.”
I remember driving dry-mouthed and stunned to an unfamiliar neighborhood, parking and making my way to this exact spot where I overlooked my soon-to-be world and wondered if I really wanted this. Honestly, most of me didn’t think so at the moment. Much of me wanted to drive back to my home-home and sit on my deck-deck and live there-there forever-ever. Where I could take in similar crimson, evergreen, golden and yellow fall leaves and the very same mountains, just from another – familiar - angle.
Did I really want this? My question seemed to echo back to me from God, himself. Like a patient therapist, he peeled back a corner of my heart and invited me to peer within. “You don’t have to do this, you know. What do you want?”
That question changed everything. Suddenly I realized it was a choice. One I could make. No one was making me move. Even though my husband was clear in his desires and ready to go, he was not making me move. He freed me with the reality that we didn’t have to do this right now. We could wait. The choice was mine.
What do you want?
I remember the dread draining away. The uncertainty that always comes with a big decision, unraveling. The trepidation of all that lay ahead, traveling down and out of my being. I could do what I wanted.
What do you want?
And I realized, I wanted to move. I didn’t really know until I looked beneath the surprise and the new of it all. But I did. I was ready. Standing before the very same overlook I stand before today, I knew.
And now it’s been a year.
Isn’t it striking how some life moments are punctuated by certain seasons? So when that season rolls back around in its autumnal awe or its wintery wonder or its springtime surprise or its summery simmer, we relive that moment all over again?
I remember back to years ago, the fall football game where I first watched my eventual husband stretch for a reception - the angle of the light in the air and the once again crimson, gold, yellow leaves above. I remember standing empty-hearted before a Christmas tree while a blizzard raged both outside my house and inside my being and we waited and waited and waited for a baby through adoption. I remember the Easter morning when we discovered our daughter would be ours on the very next day and we emerged from church to blossoming trees. I remember the summertime sizzle of burgers on the grill after long swim meets at the neighborhood pool where both my kids flip-turned their tanned bodies under brightly colored flags stretching across the sun-sparkled water’s width.
It’s good to pause and remember. To recognize the layers beneath us that both hold us erect and launch us forward. To know that our movements through the world are those we choose in companionship with our trust-worthy God who walks with us both comforting and nudging us along.
Today I stand in this season and remember the decision from just one year ago when God nudged me to know what I wanted – and to choose it. Crimson reds stand out next to evergreens. Golden globed maples sway in unison with searing yellow cottonwoods, their blackened bark contrasting against the azure sky. And in the distance, Colorado’s mountains stretch for miles.
Elisa Morgan is the cohost of the new podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her latest book is When We Pray Like Jesus. Her other books include The Beauty of Broken, Hello, Beauty Full, and She Did What She Could. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.