When my dad died, I received so many messages and letters, but one in particular from my brother-in-law has stuck with me. It wasn’t long, but this line jumped out of the paper: “He is still good.”
And every time that I return home, I remember this truth. I intermingle with a family that has unhealed wounds, old arguments, and tensions, still recovering from the aftermath, but He is still good.
And that goodness is a refrain to every reflection that I conjure up during these visits.
When sadness hangs over my old home like a cloud.
When I see changes around town, when I reconnect with old friends and miss others.
When the bittersweet nostalgia washes over me; coffee brewing on our kitchen counter, the smell of our entryway, the sound of our front door opening and closing.
When I have sleepless nights and tired afternoons because my toddler now exists.
When I am stuck in sweaty cars, uncomfortably cramped between water bottles and coolers and lots of sand.
When my siblings grow into different persons, with the same eyes and smiles but with new friends and new desires, even when I have to get to know them all over again.
When stepping into our old sanctuaries and chapels brings a guttural surge of loss and rips open anew the sting of grief.
When the waves of Lake Michigan lap onto the shore, a slow monotony singing of God’s constancy and time’s unforgiving lapse.
When I run into Orchard Market for milk like I was back in high school picking out ice cream for a family movie night.
When I smell the beautiful familiarity of old trees still standing.
When I try to remember to savor each moment to its fullest capacity, trying desperately not to forget that this seemingly never-ending home will soon be a memory.
When I try my utmost to fill up each tender and annoying moment with a symphony of gratitude.
In all these moments, I remember: