Goodbye, Jenkins 8T

Almost three years ago, Curtis (he’s very wonderful) and I moved into Jenkins 8T. It’s a small apartment on the eighth floor of a building in downtown Chicago. It was empty and bare, the windows were permanently fogged, and the faded carpet was probably a charming brown twenty years ago.

A lot happened in that apartment. A few days after our first Thanksgiving, the sprinklers exploded and ruined many (most) of our belongings (and the carpet and walls). We got our first pet together, a hamster we named Winston Churchill. We celebrated our first Christmas, both bought new bikes, and grieved the death of Belinda Rider, Curtis’s incredible mother.

I could keep listing other important events—ways we’ve seen God move, difficult conversations we’ve had, happy moments we’ll carry in our hearts forever—but you probably don’t read my blog just because you want a blow-by-blow description of the last three years (if you do, I’m so flattered).

Yesterday, Curtis and I took a few pictures of empty 8T, turned in our keys, and closed the door on the first chapter of our marriage. It was full of blissfully wonderful moments and terribly hard seasons. As we drove away from our first home together, I was tempted to write off everything that we’ve experienced there as part of the history of the house. It seems valid (though a conclusion reached through faulty reasoning) that because we’re not in the house anymore, the house isn’t part of our story.

But that’s totally not true.

If life is a tapestry, our home in Jenkins 8T is the bottom four inches of a floor-to-ceiling hanging. In those four inches there are rich, deep colors and smooth, fine threads. They’re woven together into the beginning of a pattern that is already stunning in intricacy, complexity, and design. The story of the apartment isn’t about the space. It’s about the friendships we formed there, the experiences we had, and the ways we worked to make it home.

And those memories will always be part of our story, even years from now when we’ve lived in other places and spaces. Maybe we won’t have such vivid memories of the big windows, the toilet that always flushed twice when you pushed the handle down, and our first refrigerator that left a perpetual puddle of chilled water on the kitchen floor.

But 8T will always have a special, first-home sort of place in our hearts.

Goodbye, 8T