Early this afternoon, I climbed into what looked to be a 150 foot U-Haul truck with keys in my hand. Concerned civilians in the parking lot looked at my friend Sami, who had dropped me off there, and I heard them ask, “How far does she have to drive that thing?” One overly buff 60-something gentleman yelled *somewhat* jokingly to me “the brake is on the left and the gas is on the right.” The general public was worried, rightfully so, and I was too.
The excitement didn’t end there. Plan A was being married by now and having my hypothetical husband and his hundreds of man friends move me from this one bedroom apartment into our gorgeous 2 story house. Plan A was a bust, and for some reason, I didn’t want to utilize Plan B. Obviously Plan B would have been all of my amazing friends and family helping me move (which they begged me to allow), but call it stubbornness or call it kindness, I just couldn’t ask people I love to move me in the 90 degree heat into a 3rd floor apartment.
Plan C was a lovely group of gentlemen that I hired from the internet to help me move. This afternoon, it was just Derek, Kelvin, Jimmy and I packing up the U-Haul and transporting Apartment 4 to my new home 7 miles away. The four of us developed a quick bond as we joked about life and fell into a wonderful moving team chemistry. Kelvin made fun of me that I had a box of Cinnamon life cereal under my bed. Derek told me about his relationship problems, and Jimmy, sweet, quiet Jimmy, kept to himself mostly as kind of the quiet one of the group. They moved my whole life, all of apartment 4 in 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Moving day was really exciting. Lots of change.
But if you know me at all, you know I hate change. I tend to crumble a little bit with change. I panic when my comfortable is taken away and when I am forced to adapt to something new. Leaving Apartment 4 is one of the healthiest things I could ever do for myself right now, but leaving it is really, really hard. The first time my family moved, I wrote a deep, dramatic poem about it called “home.” I was 7. To my little mind, moving from the place I called home was traumatic, and to this day, I still drive past my first house and stare and remember with a lump in my throat. I have always struggled with letting go- moving on from the past has been one of the biggest challenges I have faced throughout my entire life. So leaving this apartment is hard for me.
Apartment 4 symbolizes so much more than just a place I have lived for the past 13 months. 13 months ago I signed a lease that was more than just a legal document binding me to this 780 square feet. I was positive I knew where my life would be in 13 months. I signed that lease confident that this would be the home I started my married life and where I would begin that brand new chapter. I was sure that the following August 17, I would have cabinets full of new dishes and silverware that actually matched, and a brand new life. July 18 2014 – August 17, 2015 was all figured out that day I signed my lease. I had my plan set.
But then my plan fell apart. Months later I realized that the plan I had for my life in little Apt. #4 was not the plan God had for me at all. I had to slowly start accepting the fact that my life was simply not going to happen the way I thought it would. In those dark moments, I thought my world was ending and that there was NO way that God’s plan for my life could be better than the life I envisioned for myself in Apartment 4.
So within the walls of Apartment 4, instead of watching my new life blossom, I learned how to say goodbye to an old one. Instead of making new memories, I held photographs of old ones in my hands. I grieved on the floor of little Apt 4. I cried in the shower of Apt 4. I begged God to let me have my way in Apt. 4. I was mad and sad and confused in this little apartment. This was supposed to be the place where all my dreams came true, but instead the doors kept closing where I thought they should be opening.
Apartment 4 represents so much more to me than the place I lived the past 13 months. Within these walls, I have been crushed in spirit, buried in grief and hopeless about the future. But then, within these same walls, Jesus did this amazing work in me and began to pick up those crushed pieces and build something even better. The broken pieces that were scattered everywhere, He scooped them up and put me back together.
Apartment 4 was nothing like I thought it was going to be. It was a lot better.I thought it would be a place I started a new life, but instead, it was the place I said goodbye to an old one and prepared for the glorious and unbelievable plans God has for me wherever he takes me next.
Here I sit, on the floor of my totally empty, vacant apartment. No piece of furniture in sight. No coffee cups laying around. No clothes draped over the chairs and no footsteps running down the steps coming home for dinner. Just me and my computer soaking in these last moments in this little 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom place.
Saying goodbye is never easy. To a person, an idea, an expectation, a home; shutting the door behind you can be scary and intimidating. Walking forward in faith is hard. But when I close this green door behind me and turn that lock one last time, I know it is only the beginning of something better than I could ever imagine.
Goodbye Apartment 4.