Steadfastness and a Changing Zip Code

In the last seven years, I have lived in six different apartments in six different towns and attended five different churches. I don’t mean to complain. I’ve had quite a few adventures, and I regret none of them. They’ve each been delightful in their own right. They’ve each born witness to me growing up.

I wrestled my way back into the light after my first deep season of depression in the tiny room of my college apartment.

I fell in love in my two-room Belizean apartment, over the crackle of a poor Skype connection and long-form emails.

I started graduate school and survived the piano-ragings of the angsty teenager who slept on the other side of my thin bedroom wall.

I got married and settled into a lofted apartment in a quaint New England seaside town. We hung more on those walls than I’ve ever done because the ancient grout between the bricks yielded willingly to the nails.

The cream house by the fire hydrant, with the porch in need of a bit of repair, saw the deepest sorrow and greatest joy. It bore witness to our tears and empty-armed sorrow. It was a cradle where I relearned hope. I danced on the creaky hardwood floors, strewn with sunlight, on the day I got my first book contract. Those rooms saw our joyful disbelief on the day we found out we were expecting our first child.


And now I sit perched in the house in which I will finish that book and into which we will welcome that child. It’s a gift, this house, with its windows flung open to the sun and the autumn leaves.

But it seems I’ve been in continuous transition for over half a decade—yet again on to a new home with a full awareness we won’t be there for long.

For some, this would be wonderful. Some, I know, have had it worse. But for this girl, whose parents and grandparents have lived in the same place their entire lives, who has “rootedness” etched on her soul, it feels achingly transitory.

I’ve walked the line between settling in with a vengeance and being on the move. I’ve repacked, unpacked, reshelved, reorganized our possessions, finding everything its place and surrounding us with as much beauty and peace as I can muster. I’ve catapulted myself into friendships, knowing that most won’t last the strain of distance or the inconvenience of the loss of proximity—but that the ones that do survive will be sweet and fierce and full of life. I have ridden the waves of loneliness.

I’m starting to wonder if this season is life’s schooling ground. Perhaps even when I can go more than two years at a time without changing my address on bank statements or needing Google Maps to find the post office, I will find myself still in transition, even if more subtle. Perhaps I will always find the ground shifting beneath my feet, even if my zip code stays the same.

And perhaps these lessons will be for then as well. To learn what abides when my world shifts. To learn the strength of the anchor of faith. To learn the profound gift of true friendship. To learn to be rooted while transitory, to be “not at home” while making one. To learn to be steadfast.