We are in the mundane middle of packing up a house. Taking all the things that represent you on earth and stuffing them in boxes will really get you moving in the minimalist direction. I’ve started selling things and giving them away, knowing that they won’t fit in the new house or won’t look quite right. The past five years have been a labor of love, transforming a house we thought might be home for a long time. It wasn’t, because there were different and fuller plans for our family.
I’ve always lingered over the emotions of the human experience. The letting go, the growing up, the disappointment, the tragedy and the overwhelming beauty. And there is nothing like a move with children to push you deeper into those musings.
Early this morning I took sandpaper to a table adorned with the first scribblings of my son’s name. Once he figured out how to personalize things he really went for it. He’s my fourth, but my first to really take a crayon or marker to walls, furniture, the brick exterior of our home and pretty much anything else he can access. I’ve found at least 7 “self portraits” and more Liam’s than I can count. I’ll admit, it was frustrating to find a sharpied, wide-eyed version of Liam carefully penned onto the patio steps. I did everything I could to erase it before the house sold. Nothing would quite take away the picture and there is still a faint depiction of that little stick figure if you look carefully when entering the back door.
Friends, this human experience is a beauty. One we should be so thankful to experience. It’s messy and most certainly lacks the perfection God intended… but it’s so full. We leave our marks across time and no matter how much time has passed there will still be lingering depictions of the lives we led… just as my sweet boy wanted to leave his mark in the place we call home.
I was talking with my grandpa yesterday. We chatted about the new house and all the plans I had to make it a home. We talked about how they were considering selling their home and moving closer to family. We have states and more states of separation between us all. He said I don’t want to just give it away, it’s not much, but I worked my whole life to own this little piece. I took that statement for what it was at the moment. Someone who worked hard, loved hard, gave more than what he had to give and was left content at the end of the day. Happy with the result of what he and grandma had built together.
But later that day an overwhelming revelation slammed into me. That new house we are moving into? That’s theirs. The things that flow out of me… my ambitions and accomplishments? Also theirs. Legacy is a powerful thing. By showing us what love is my grandparents have put their mark on my life. They have personalized me, added their stamp. Their long days of work, sacrifice and choices have all accumulated into who I am. My parents? The same. The work ethic… the understanding that we make hay while the sun shines. They have all put their mark on this life and it has tattooed itself permanently into the fibers of my being.
Grandpa, Gran… you don’t just have that acre in Michigan with the house you call home. You have a daughter, 3 grandchildren, 3 grandchildren-in-law and 7 great-grandchildren. All that we have is a result of your steadfast labor and love passed down through time. We are your stamps on this world.