change, no guarantees & an apology

A few Tuesdays ago I was leaving my house to go to Bekah’s so we could purge some mementos from her life, when my brother drove down the street. He doesn’t live here, so immediately I stopped the car and rolled down the window, as did he—then we proceeded to chat for 45 minutes in the middle of the road.

Apparently being gone on Monday nights means I miss a lot. He decided that He was moving to Montana to live with our grandpa. In the 15 hours since then, he had begun moving out of his apartment, found a job out there, put his car up for sale, and talked through everything with Grandpa.  And not only was he moving, but his plan was to fly out the following Monday.  I know, right? 6 days notice…bah.

The plan was that I would take him to the Indy airport Monday morning, but over the weekend, we found out that the airline wouldn’t be able to transport his dog…


Decision made: Car went off sale, got scheduled for maintenance, estimated time of departure became Thursday noon.  Next thing we know, it’s said Thursday, at 9 pm, he was still here, and his new departure time was 7 am Friday morning, with a promised pit stop at my work to say goodbye on his way out. Sigh.

He and my parents had gone to visit our baby brother that previous Saturday. I couldn’t go, but when they got home, my mom told me that watching the two of them say goodbye had been heartbreaking, and Miles had cried in the car on the way home. It had not even hit me that we weren’t all going to be together again for quite a while…maybe Christmas…if plane tickets are affordable.

So Ian’s birthday was it.


photo taken by Melissa Koutny

I have a friend who is one of nine, and her siblings range from 16 to 38 years old. They’ve lived all over the country, half of them in Washington state, half in South Carolina, some of them in Ohio, some in West Virginia, some in Washington DC, some in Africa…it is rare that the entire family is all together at the same time. I honestly think this last Christmas may have been the first time in four or five years that they were all there. And I may be forgetting someone.

I can’t imagine that. Even when I lived in Colorado, I knew I’d be home at Christmas, and my brothers would be there, and so would my parents. I knew that when I came home to watch Ian graduate from high school, they would all be here. I could rely on those things.

And now, Miles was leaving, to also move most of the way across the country, and I am hopeful he’ll be here in December, but that’s not a guarantee—just as it wasn’t really a guarantee that we’d all be together in December and June when I had come home.

There is only one guarantee in life. People are not guarantees. And circumstances certainly aren’t guarantees. That’s what I’m learning. It’s what I’ve been learning—for the last five years—probably longer. We love people and we love to know that they will be there no matter what, but that’s just not reality. It’s why we cling to sayings like “best friends forever” and it’s why we like to define relationships—so we know what we can rely on.  It’s why we search and prod and dig for stability and jobs and the things that give the appearance of comfort and unshakability (made that word up).

The world, the people in it, the weather, the sky, the seasons, the leaves, the things in bloom—they change, constantly. We really have no control over it, though we try. One minute someone’s ten minutes across town, the next they’re 26 hours across the country. The suddenness of this move, if nothing else, is showing me that in the blink of an eye, anything can change. Cliché—I’m aware.


I have spent so much of my adult life (and really, probably my childhood as well) searching for someone to rely on—whether it be a friend, a parent, a guy… I will just tell you this: I have been disappointed every time. Not because of the people, but because of me. I’m trying to make them something they can’t be.

I want so badly for someone to love me, need me, accept me, hear me, hold me, see me, fix me, speak to me, perfectly, exactly right, every time—and that’s impossible.

I am sorry friends. I’m sorry for all the pressure I’ve put on you; sorry for expecting so much, even though I never said it; sorry for being angry with you, and becoming bitter when I was disappointed. You never could have lived up to my expectations for you. The things I want from you can only be given and done by The Lord. I’ve expected perfection, from you—from me—but perfection only comes from Him. I have to stop looking at you like you have my answers—my solution—because you don’t. Jesus is it.

And I’m apologizing to you guys, but even more than that, I’m apologizing to You, Jesus. I’m sorry for trying to replace You & for trying to fill myself and my life with things and people who can’t take Your place. And thank You for Your patience with me—for loving me anyway—and continuing to pursue my heart—for continuing to open my eyes and teach me—even though it’s often the same lesson over and over again. Thank You for creating us to be in community, and for having people we can trust and be close to, but thank You that no one can replace You. Jesus, thank You for my family, thank You for the friends that I actually consider family, thank You for providing for the need of this in my life—in our lives. Thank You for seeing every circumstance and seeing us, and for calling us to look up into Your eyes, and not at our feet, or at the shaking of things around us.  Thank You for not changing. Thank You for being You no matter who we are trying to be. Thank You that how we see You doesn’t change who You actually are. Give us Your eyes, Jesus. Give us Your eyes to see the people we are surrounded by—strangers, friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers, classmates, etc.—give us Your eyes to see our lives, our troubles, our joys—let us see You in them—let us see with Your eyes, and see the blessing of them—trusting that You are good and You know and see and have a purpose and a plan for everything—even though we really can’t see it, and we especially can’t feel it, at the time.


Thank You for my brother, and for this new season of life for him. Thank You for teaching me so much from one choice that someone else made. Thank You for getting Him to Montana safely, for Grandpa who is so excited to have him there. Thank You for providing a job and a car and a friend for him. Thank You for the open space, and ginormous mountains that he gets to live in the midst of. Thank You, Jesus for the fresh breath and clean slate that You have given him. Draw him near to You, Lord. Call his name, please Jesus. Burn within him—burn Your words of Truth onto his heart and his soul. Show him, Jesus, who You created him to be, and free him from the expectations and standards of this world—free him from the words that have been spoken over his life. Let nothing meant by Satan for evil remain. Uproot every lie and falsity, and replace them with Your Love and Truth. Thank You, sweet Father. Thank You, in the Name of Jesus, let it be as You wish. Amen.



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