Change is hard. Change is scary. And the older I get change feels less like an adventure and more like a chore. Ironically, change is also the cornerstone of this crazy, military life we’ve been living for the past 18 years.
Not all change is hard and scary though. My Pinterest boards are proof of this. They are full of interior design ideas that I’ve collected–and sometimes even used!—as we’ve moved from house to house over the years. No one ever has to twist my arm when it comes to choosing new paint colors and curtains and purging all the old stuff to make room for the new. It’s easy to fix up what everyone can see…to make it all pretty and fresh and new every time we embrace whatever change the Air Force throws our way.
The harder part of change comes when we have to fix up the stuff people can’t see. Like the void all the “goodbyes” have left in our hearts over the years. This life requires friends who we welcome as part of our extended family and saying goodbye to them can often be as difficult as saying goodbye to our closest siblings. And there’s nothing easy about leaving the walls of a home that you’ve poured your heart and soul and all your family memories and cherished moments into knowing full well that it was never yours “for keeps” anyway.
Recently, the Crabb Crew has experienced a lot of change. The night we left Alaska, several of the kids and I sat silently in our seats as the plane took off with tears streaming down our cheeks. We pressed our faces against the window of the plane and tried to refrain from blinking until we could no longer see the jagged peaks of those majestic mountains. As much as our brains had embraced the idea of moving to this Hawaiian paradise, our hearts longed for the walls of our Alaskan “home” only hours after leaving.
But here we are, on an island, making another house our home again. Searching for friends and churches, and the exact space where we will “fit in” here. And it occurred to me today how much stronger we are as a family because of this life. When one child’s heart aches and longs for the friends they left behind, I remind them that they are blessed because they take their 3 best friends and 2 biggest cheerleaders everywhere they go. We encourage each other & comfort each other. We admire each other’s strengths and make up for each other’s weaknesses. We do all of this because we are forced to always rely on each other.
After “starting over” for the umpteenth time, I cannot assure them that this change will be easier or more fun than the last time. When it comes time to leave here our hearts will probably be heavy with sadness and memories. Our lives will inevitably be richer because we will have “family” here that will never be forgotten. But I can honestly assure them that someday we will leave this place the same way we came—together. And that’s one thing that will never change.