My Sacramento girls are gathering at Kat’s house tonight and I’m not there. I’m here, in this house, with a glass of cheap Trader Joe’s wine, and the breeze of a fan, and the light of a lone desk lamp. It’s peaceful and wonderful. I’m not lonely, but I also really miss them. Will I ever stop missing them?
Right now the sun is in that final letting go phase. If it were a baby, there’d be only occasional whimpers left. Soon the chilly, thick ocean breeze will begin making its way towards Las Positas and over the 101 and up State Street until it reaches my bedroom window around 2:00am, waking me from a deep sleep and reminding me I live near the beach again.
Eight weeks have passed since we left one home for another and I’m still not sure how to write openly about the change. The thing is, I’m really happy, but I feel guilty saying so. We left an incredible life in Sacramento, and being happy here makes me feel like I’m cheating a little bit on the other place I love. Every time I sit down to write about Santa Barbara, my fingers freeze up and my heart beats a little too fast. So I stop.
But I’ve been wanting to tell you about how I wear Rainbow sandals every day like I’m in high school again, and how we’re having picnic dinners on the Mission lawn, and hiking in the foothills on Saturdays. We’re roasting marshmallows in our backyard fire pit and picking avocados on Sundays and running along the water for exercise and seeing old friends at a church we’ve missed very much. We’re rediscovering El Sitio’s tortas and learning how to clean sand out of car seats. And every single time we drive on Foothill Road, Anna yells, “The mountains, Mommy! The mountains!” This is a town where adorably dressed girls drive Vespas and people paddle board for regular exercise and it’s not uncommon to run into a familiar face every time you visit Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. We were sad to leave all those years ago, and even happier it still feels like home even though we made a damn good life somewhere else for awhile.
A few weeks before we moved, my bible study girls prayed for me. We sat in a circle, like we did every Tuesday night, and they lifted their beautiful voices up on my behalf. They’d done this once before, right when Jonathan was diagnosed with cancer, and it was the moment I knew they weren’t just fun girls, and they weren’t just wise women… they were loyal and deep and true.
At one point, when Janelle was praying for our transition, she pictured me standing on the sand, near the water, playing and peaceful. When she asked God to grant me her vision, I began to weep. Her picture looked so beautiful in my head, and for the first time I admitted just how badly I yearned for rest.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that despite missing those women so very much, I feel at rest here. We all do. And I know its exactly what they hoped, and exactly what they prayed for.
I’m learning you can let go of a place, but you don’t have to let go of people.