So, there’s not really a single part of me that wants to leave.

Of course, I’m thrilled to be returning home. So many good things await us there. Did I mention the house we found will actually be 1/2 a mile from my best friend, our very own KLR? She will surely be changing locks and “accidentally” forgetting to leave the spare in the shed before too long, but that is fine. The way things such as these have continued to align gives me great confidence in what God is doing right now.

But that doesn’t negate the tears. Just because I’m glad to be going doesn’t mean I want to be leaving.

The things that decorated my life haveI cried sad tears last night at a preschool music celebration. Mark that down as one of my best gifts, that I can take such a beautiful and happy evening in the children’s lives and make it a sobfest about my own. I couldn’t help it as reality began to set in: this was it for us and this little community. My youngest 2 will not hear Miss Carla sing Bob Dylan songs or dance around with ukuleles.

Yet it’s not just the school, or the church, or the neighborhood. Those things exist in nearly all communities, even if not identical in form to those here. To say that these are better than those is largely unfair. It’s not a contest and they’re not competing.

My time in Troy has been like getting ready for the prom. These voices got me all dressed up, put on some make-up and did my hair. They put me in front of a mirror and helped me realize how beautiful I am. How beautiful this life is. Perfect? No. But richly beautiful.

Now, I’m going home to change into yoga pants and a hoodie, the comforts I crave and know. It might not have the glow of a big dance, but I can live with my eyes opened to the beauty I discovered. I once told a group of high school girl that real beauty looks as good in a hoodie as it does in a prom dress, and that’s the direction my life is taking.

The things that decorated my life have to stay here. But the beauty? That moves. I’ll have to leave behind the people who held the mirror and pointed out the beauty. But the way they shaped me and formed me, smoothing my rough edges and sharpening me where I’ve been dull – that will travel. I’ll just have to hold on to that.

Visit me elsewhere: