I gave him one last hug.
He stared at me with those strong and compassionate brown eyes and said,
"you can do this."
I sniffled and a murmured a slight, "yeah" as he slowly closed my car door like he had so many times. I quickly glanced at my reflection in the window. It wasn't pretty. Black-stained eyes stared back at me with the remnants of saltwater from a few minutes before when I said goodbye to the girl he loved. But deep down, I believed him—he was my brother, my friend, one of those humans who truly made me want to be better. Maybe he was right. Maybe I could do this.
The car stereo punched on and I heard the familiar sounds of another dear friend as I stared at him walking away in my rear view mirror.
“This love you found was. not. planned."
And it wasn’t
planned. Nashville and all of the people in it were an unexpected miracle. They
were the reason this move was so hard… seemingly overnight they had snuck into the confines of my ticker and
changed everything. The truth is that
were the reason I couldn't do this. But they were the reason I could do this.
A few days earlier I was having breakfast with a close girlfriend. I was getting ready to leave and she asked, “Meredith, can I pray for you?” As she prayed her gracious words moved over my heart and mind like a warm washcloth. Where there was anxiety, she brought release. Where there was worry, she brought freedom. Where there was fear, she brought bravery. My mind began to escape into my labyrinth of feelings when she suddenly said these words,
“God, make this her new haven.”
It sounds silly, but until that moment I had never thought of it that way. New Haven, Connecticut could be my new haven. It didn't have to be second best, it could just be new. My new place to experience God. My new way of thinking. My new home.
If I can be honest, it's not planned... this kind of love I already know. Right now it’s hard for me to imagine a place that has brought me the kind of love and grace that Nashville has. But I think God has a way of working that out. God brings new mercies and safe havens when we least expect it…and the unexpected life, well I think that’s the best kind.
So goodbye, Tennessee.
And hello, My New Haven.