The best is yet to be.

Back home from Nashville. Going away for a week always helps me return refreshingly to home. Reflecting on my "past life" in Nashville, I am thankful for it. But more than that, I treasure where I am today, in this life, in this home, with this man, with this community.

I do miss the hills and farms of Franklin. I miss the bustle of Hillsboro Village on a Saturday morning. I miss my home on Beechwood, where I lived with Amy and Suz, with the purple dining room and twinkling lights draped over the fireplace.

In 2005, a year after moving away, I finally said "goodnight" to Nashville. It was something I needed to do to put an end to the fits of longing and move forward, gracefully, with my new life in Texas. At that time, I was stuck. I tried to like Texas, but every new coffeeshop I discovered in Dallas was nothing compared to the humming energy of Fido or Bongo. Every new friend I met, I compared to "my girls" in Nashville. No experience here could compare to what I had experienced there, a city where I grew into "me" from age 17 to 27.

A dear friend of ours always signs letters and cards, "The best is yet to be." I don't know about you, but I find hope in this statement. There are more good years ahead, more good moments to be experienced. When I turned 30, I said to my mentor, Melissa, a woman in her late-40's, "It's going to be a good year..." Without hesitation she answered, "They're all good years!" It halted me. She was right. Would I trade even one of them? No way. I am who I am because of Madison and Houston and Nashville and Dallas and the moments that have happened there, the people who have been woven permanently into my life.

Nashville and I have become friends again. This past trip was so healthy, encouraging. Perhaps I had to let that time of my life go a little bit in order to receive it back again. I don't know how it happened, really. Maybe it was just time. It took feeling uncomfortable with change and just sitting in that for awhile. And then one day, I found a peace. Maybe it's a peace that came with finding a family here in Texas, where I least expected it. And I realized I could still love both places, for their own unique reasons.

Hello again, Nashville. Thank you for what you did to make me who I am. Every time I return to you, someone asks me, "When are you moving back?" I smile. And then I answer, "Nashville is forever on the list." Because no matter what, you are. And that's okay. There are also good years ahead, though. And I am going to embrace them now.

"Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, 'A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God:
see all, nor be afraid!'"
~ Robert Browning