Moving is not for the faint of heart. In the span of our marriage we are on our eighth address. We’re averaging less than two years at any given address. Four of those moves have been while I was pregnant. That’s a lot of moving. And it’s hard, I’m not gonna lie to you. Not just in terms of packing and housing and all those pesky details to work out, but emotionally. And since we just moved a distance of 1300 miles last week, I can say this with a fair amount of authority. But let me tell you something that dawned on me this time around. All because of vacuuming.
When the movers were clearing out all our boxes and furniture a week or so ago, I realized I could be doing something productive and vacuum out the empty rooms while they were working on others. So dutifully I began my task. I made it through the first three rooms, but when I got to the living room it all finally hit me. We were leaving. I passed the section of wall where the kids had peeled a bit of wallpaper off and colored underneath it. I passed the scribbled Sharpie marks my two-year old had made. I vacuumed the spot where that same two-year old spilled blue paint that still left a mark no matter how many times we scrubbed it and hit it with the carpet cleaner. I found the yellow Sorry piece we had lost during a family game night. And I started to cry as all the memories of time spent together in that house came flooding back.
You see, a house isn’t “just” a house, contrary to what people may tell you. It’s a home, made special by the people who live there. And the carpet tells a story. Even after I vacuumed you could still tell where our bed had been in the master room, with like-new carpet underneath and decidedly more worn carpet in the walking path around it. In the living room you could still see the marks in the carpet where the bookshelf and couch had been. You could see the table leg marks in the carpet of the dining room. The pieces of furniture themselves may be gone, but they left impressions behind.
In much the same way, people leave behind impressions. We may have started a new chapter of our lives, but the people we just left behind left strong impressions in our hearts. We don’t forget them just because we move away. No, they live on in our hearts and minds as we remember them with fondness and keep in touch. And likewise, we have made an impression on them. And as we meet new people here now, we have a chance for them to make impressions on us as well.
Believe it or not, you’re not only making impressions on those with whom you come into contact. You’ve already made a lasting eternal impression on God Himself. Don’t believe me? Look at this verse from Isaiah 49:16—“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Now that’s what I call a lasting impression. God is assuring His people that it is impossible for Him to forget and forsake them. And it’s not just an Old Testament promise either. Think about Jesus’ palms. They, too, are engraved with the nail marks He endured for our sake. Those marks assure us that He has won our victory. He will never leave us or forsake us. You can count on it. You’re engraved on His palms. Eternally.