I got a call on Sunday from my husband. “Where are you?”
“Where are YOU?”, I replied.
“Down by the water. Come here. I need to show you something.”
And there he was. In the same spot standing where he proposed almost 12 years ago.
My eyes filled with tears.
I began the walk down the same path my family and friends had held candles and painted signs all the way back down to where he stood all these years later. We soaked in that moment for… but a moment. We couldn’t sit and linger too long. We had kids waiting for us.
In those few minutes, my life flashed before my eyes. Part of the tears were honestly grieving what once was. A moment I’ll never forget. We’d spent the entire day together that day traveling the hill country enjoying every picturesque, Hallmark-ish Christmas town and I was sure that if he didn’t pop the question, it wasn’t going to happen.
I had zero expectations for a proposal that evening. I thought we were headed to a birthday party for his grandfather only to find my friends, family, and even my dog who I’d just left 5 hours away that day before. There were lights, candles, tears, surprises, food, and launching lanterns into the night sky, and of course, the ring. It was perfect.
Now, here we were almost 12 years later. Life was so different. Family life looked different. Many had aged. Many had moved. The lake that once filled the backdrop of our magic moment had dried up. Three kids, so many jobs, 6 moves, 10 married years later, here we were again.
Here’s what I’ve come to realize. Nothing will ever be what it once was. Yes, there is restoration, there is amending, there is a tie that holds things together, but there is also time that passes in the in-between. There’s been so many days and seasons of our life, where I wished things looked and felt like they did in “that” moment. But we’ve grown since then and the world has changed. We’ve changed. We look different. Sound different. Desire different things. We have more responsibilities. Bigger decisions. More financial commitments and a true appreciation for so much we once took for granted.
We’re always going to be changing. We’ll always be in a state of transition. You won’t have what once was because you can’t go back to the way things once were. We can only be here and we can only go forward.
We’re always going to be changing.
We’ll always be in a state of transition.
You won’t have what once was because you can’t go back to the way things once were.
We can only be here and we can only go forward.
But, we can create what we want now and begin to pave the steps for what we want one day ahead. There are the memories we’ll grieve, moments we’ll treasure forever, lessons we’ll glean wisdom from, and things we don’t want to let go of. But there’s something that happens when we let go of the striving and the longing to have what we once had, the way we once had it.
I love what Stefanie Boyce, of The Oaks Center, once shared with me in a conversation we once had on the podcast, “Sometimes the very thing you’re holding onto is the very thing holding you back.” I couldn’t agree more. I’m holding onto old ways, old norms, old memories, and old feelings. I’m holding on to things like the feeling of love when I was in my 20’s when life held two responsibilities – go to work and pay the bills. Love looks different now. It’s grown and it’s evolved. I haven’t grown out of the feeling of “love” but rather am learning to grow into what love looks like now.
So, if you need to let go of something today, let go of the leaves you’re holding onto. It’s time to let new memories and moments spring forth. Go ahead – create new memories, new feelings, and a life worth living in the present, fully alive to what’s right in front of you.
We can give ourselves permission to create what we want to see. Be who we’re becoming. Try on what is and be excited for what will be. Say thank you to the things that have brought us joy and live in anticipation for the joy awaiting.
It can be hard. It will be and feel different. You are changing. We’re changing. And things will always be changing. But you can loosen your grip. Embrace what’s new. Let go of where you were. Be where you are. And joyfully await for what is to come.