Flashback Friday: This Is It

Her name is Judy. His is Bob. We've talked only minutes and already I'm smitten. I see how in 25 years my eyes might twinkle the same way when I reminisce about how my children grew up skiing, about the August island hopping, the downeast eden only sails can show you.

I swirl red around the glass, listen as they list long the must go and must see of their charming little town. At least three times in these short hours, an old friend happens by and interrupts our table of seven. Bob and Judy put hands on our shoulders, my husband and I, explain we're considering a move. And each time, the friends rave about how long they've loved it here--whether for five or fifty years. They hope we will come, they all say. I feel certain they mean it.

We drive home the next day after the long tour of must go and must see, piles of glossy-paged enticements on my lap and by my feet. It all sounds amazing, perfect, idyllic, from the town to the job to the people. Finally alone, we give voice to our traded glances of the past two days. I try to block the hope bubbling, but it foams through my hands and down the glass like root beer zealous for air.

He sees it.

"Don't get me wrong," he starts. "I can see us happy here. I know I'd enjoy working with the group. And the kids would love it here. But..."

He trails off, searches for words to match the uneasy feeling.

"It's hard to articulate," he admits. "I just don't think this is it."

"I desperately want it to be. I want this to be it, but.." Now I trail off too. In the deep pit of stomach where anxiety crouches, dormant, I already know. One deep honest breath will bring to the top the reason why the highly rated schools and the picturesque harbor and the amazing library are not enough.

Everything on paper says "happily ever after." We could stretch roots deep in this coastal soil. He could be home every night for dinner. We could build the gourmet kitchen, buy the Viking stove, dip our first boat into the bay, all with space for guilt-easing generosity on-the-side.

But everything on paper burns. In the weeks that follow, we hold the paper against the smallest tugging of heart. And the flame licks, consumes all doubt. This isn't it.

But if this isn't it, what is?

It is a year later before I know. 

It is a year later, today in fact, before I understand that we are living what is. That three more years of residency--the low pay and long hours--is it. That moving to a smaller, older, quirkier house is it. That signing on to serve again where the only thing certain is deployment is it. That moving every few years, accumulating experiences instead of wealth, is it.

On paper, life reads anything but "happily ever after."
But I've discovered how little paper means, how quickly it burns in the wick of heart-led life. 
My heart and hope finally agree. Indeed, this is it.


I know it's been forever since I've spoken of Flashback Friday, but on a whim, I'm bringing it back. Because this is a flashback, and today is Friday. So why not? Would you like to join me? I'll add a place to link below, and you're welcome to add something you've written long ago, or to write something fresh. Whatever suits you. If you decide to join in, grab the button code on the sidebar and link back here.

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