Body, Soul and Ice Cream

525,600 minutes…. 525,000 moments so dear… 525,000 journeys to plan… 
How do you measure a year in the life?

maybe I measure mine in Ice Cream and Wine…

photo courtesy of Flickr user fka sunny

photo courtesy of Flickr user fka sunny

Last week, after accepting an offer on our house (pending inspection…) we took the kids out for ice cream at Too Tall’s Tasty Treats to celebrate. This is the local ice cream shop down the road from our house.

I’ll admit that it’s a ridiculous name for an oddly located, roadside ice cream shop, but now it’s MY ice cream shop. It’s the place Kel’s been running for flurries to soothe the pain of a bad day as we binged on Netflix and cared for Clara, both in and out of utero.

As I finished my chocolate Reeses flurry on the sticky picnic table, I thought about our year on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids, the routines we fell into, the restaurants we frequented, the walks we took, the discoveries we made.

The ways in which we nestled into this neighborhood, spread out and called it our own.

How we always got takeout burgers from Charlies or Pasta from Fred’s on date night.
How we spent almost the entire year with paint in our fingernails and on our forearms.
How our kids rode their bikes back and forth in front of the house.
How we cursed the cottonwood tree for covering our lives in a second winter of obnoxious white fluff.

For a season this was ours. And now it isn’t anymore, pending a few weeks and a few hundred signatures on a few thousand pieces of paper it will be the locale for completely new life.

When I handed over our home in Oklahoma to a sweet newlywed couple I wrote this essay entitled “Letter to a new Homeowner.”  And I still hold it as one of my personal favorite pieces, seriously click the link… it is worth your time.

This home is a place for staying but it’s also a place to for going somewhere.  Every season will give way to a new one and lessons learned add up to progress and depth.  As you stay within these walls, you’ll move and change as a family in ways that you never imagined.  No home leaves you the same, who knows where this home may take you?”

In just a year we have grown and changed as a family in ways I’m quite certain that we aren’t yet aware of.

Obviously we grew in obvious ways as we are now a family of five, but it’s deeper than that too, more nuanced. This year was unspeakably hard on us and this home was a place of respite from that, a haven.

I will miss this house, this neighborhood, this season, even now as I write about there is an ache in my chest and tears flirting with falling from the corners of my eyes. I’m not ready to pass off the keys as I was when we sold our house in Ada and I penned that lovely Essay above.

This move is a heap more bitter than sweet.

I have had this one word floating around in my mind lately.

The word corporal. It means of the body, personal, material. It’s a completely and utterly earthly word.

I think in the faith world we are often encouraged not to get hung up on the earthly, the corporal. The body is the thing that sustains life, but it isn’t the thing itself.

This is absolutely true. I value the life within the body and the people within the home far more than the corporal vessels that contain them.

Yet still, I grieve.
Still I love the body and the home.
Still it is gut wrenchingly hard to let go of the corporal stages upon which our the plays of our lives are portrayed.

When we place a body in the ground we are saying goodbye to the eyes and skin and arms that the soul used as it left it’s mark on the world.

When we say goodbye to a house we are saying goodbye another body, another stage, a place we became intertwined with.

The kitchen where the simple bowls of oatmeal and turkey sandwiches were served.
The bathtub where we either revved up or unwound from our life’s work.
The front door that saw us come and go, bolstered or defeated.
The couch that received our tired bodies after the last child finally. dozed. off.

The corporal things aren’t meant to be everything. Yet they are something to cherish and grieve, to give deep and unspeakable thanks for.

God has no hands on earth but ours.

These vessels are his love for us, his love in bathtubs, old wonky stoves and beat up floors.

His love in the dandelions that delight the children and annoy the parents.

So we grieve the passing of the homes and the bodies because without them the spirit would have no stage.

And so in the next month I will tear down this home, this body, this stage and make way for a new thing. And it hurts, and I will be okay, and nobody has died, and God will surprise me on the other end and even with all these truths, I ache and grieve and fill boxes with a sigh.

I’ll leave you with Kathleen Kelly of the little book store.

“People are always telling you that change is a good thing. But all they’re really saying is that something you didn’t want to happen at all… has happened.”

What corporal thing do you love and grieve and treasure?


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  • Kaethe Ward

    Hi Leanne, great post. I have been following your blog for awhile now, especially since my husband, kids, and I had a similar experience with moving to, and then unexpectedly from, Grand Rapids. It seems that many people have tough seasons of life there. I did learn to love running there which is a skill that has served my life well in so many ways. Also. My husband and I both grew up near Dowagiac. There are some lovely things about that area and I pray that you will be blessed there.