It’s way past the time I should have closed my eyes for the day. But here I am, awake, wondering what I can do to process all that has happened and all that is to come. There’s truly nothing that can do that for me now, but maybe, just maybe, a little writing will do some good.
Tomorrow is the day I drive into Chicago. It’s not the day we move into our new house or settle deep into a new routine. But it is the day that brings us that much closer to this new life of ours. It’s been five days since I packed us up and drove across the Pennsylvania state line. Stopping in Detroit, we fell into my sister’s arms and rested peacefully under her roof. But it’s time to keep moving. Illinois awaits.
Where does my heart keep wandering off to? Again and again I find myself reliving the last several months of our lives, and especially the last few weeks. These have been some of the physically and emotionally hardest of my life and I still am surprised at my own ability to pull something off I never dreamed I could do. This is the thing, we just do it. There is no other option. The place I find myself arriving at when it all feels like too much is the place of gratitude.
Deep, deep gratitude.
So here in this moment, let me rattle of the places where I was saved by the hands and hearts of the people in our lives.
For Bernie and Maggie- we give thanks. For their willingness to dive right in, check in and pack it up. For the night Bernie went through my house with me and kept asking me the same question- “Ok, what should we pack next?”
For Marc- so many thanks. For his care in checking in with me, asking how things were progressing. For carrying things, packing things, and unhooking cables that I had no idea what to do with. For being a friend who is so willing to work hard for and with us.
For Amy and Dawn- oh so thankful. For the way they shared their kids with my daughter and made the last few weeks in PA such memorable ones. For a trip to Hershey Park, to the Bay, and lazy summer days. For piling on a few more memories for my girl who just wanted to celebrate her 13th birthday with her very best friends. For loving her and for opening their hearts to the gift of friendship.
All you Kairos friends! You showed up at my house, driving hours and hours. You brought food and wine and so much love. For that one last gathering of the graces that drew us all back into each other.
For our SMC friends who gathered with us that one last time. For the Lancaster memories they gathered into a basket and gave us as we left. The Wilbur buds, various pickled foods, and the delicious Lonely Monk Coffee. For giving us Dutch Blitz, good beer and local items to bring to our new home. For the laughs, the love and the acceptance. Our hearts are so thankful.
And for Shauna- my dear friend Shauna. For her gift of knowing just what to do and diving right in. The meals served to our family, running over to take the kids off of my hands, scrubbing my floors, Starbucks gift cards, texts that always reminded me how I COULD and I WOULD make it through this hectic time. For showing me by example how to just BE there for someone and the little things are the biggest of all. For her family that opened their door and lives to ours. Thanks just doesn’t seem enough.
For Kate who just loves. For Kate who kept her heart open even when our leaving seemed too hard to take in. For the place to lay our heads that last night in Lancaster. For the way she made us feel right at home and sent off already so missed. For the handwritten letters she prepared for every individual Mullen. Those words that remind us how some friends become family- a blessing beyond words.
Guess what? I’m getting a little more tired… There’s a little peace spreading through my chest.
There are so many more people we will love and miss.
Mom! Dad! Mike! Heather! Mackenzie! Brian! Olivia! Ashley! Wendy! Jean! Marlene! Nancy! Johnathan! April! Juba! Sachi! Jannat! Julia! Jason! Marybeth! Alexis! Stacy! Riley! Isaac! Owen! Zack! Ollie! Wesley! Slade! The Glicks! Our teachers! Our doctors! Our neighbors! Our garbage men! (Good’s is the BEST!) Sunnyside Mennonite! The entire youth group! I COULD GO ON AND ON AND ON AND IT MAKES ME WONDER WHY WE ARE LEAVING AT ALL?!?!?!!?
But then I look ahead to a new chapter that awaits. I look forward to living together as a complete family again.
Rest is here. So, thanks for the listening ear. I needed that tonite.