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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Everything at Once

Updated: May 25, 2022

How are you doing with all of this? Everyone asks and I hardly know what to say. I’m not sure, to be honest.

Years ago, when the boys were young, we did this thing at the Science Museum. It was a contest to see who could most effectively think about nothing. I can’t really remember the specifics now, except two opponents went head-to-head, electrodes measuring brain activity, and the one who could most effectively shut it off came away the winner. And it was Grant. Every time. No contest.

“I think I’ve learn to shut off my brain. Kind of like Grant.” I said this to Nils in a phone conversation, me enjoying an outdoor lunch, and he was road-tripping his way through Nebraska. Thursday. He’d loaded his car the day before, said good-bye to his childhood home, Colorado bound for the summer.

“You mean like when Dad was up on the roof?” Yeah, like that. Last weekend, painting dormers, one ladder hooked over the peak, another stretching up from the ground, and from my perspective, more than the length of a man between. All day Saturday, I’d back down the driveway, trying not to look. Or think.

But that’s the least of it. It’s all these swirling thoughts of a house officially on the market, and Jimmy graduating from High School on Friday, and everything’s happening all at once. I’m telling Nils, and he’s agreeing, feeling it, too.

And then Friday night we’re pulling into the Legacy parking lot for one last high school graduation. 21 years straight at this school. We park, and I’m hustling to get inside to save our row of seats, and Kyle’s cell phone’s ringing. I hear enough to know it’s Rick, our across-the-street realtor neighbor, no doubt calling with news from the buyer. Six showings yesterday, and an offer by nightfall.

“They accepted.” Minutes later, Kyle squeezes between two sets of grandparents and Felipe, the back row our only option with 40 minutes still remaining to Pomp and Circumstance.  Grammy leans close as we talk about potential closing dates, and of course she’s as eager as any of us to have a plan.

“What’s your plan?” A couple of weeks I’ve been answering the question. Jimmy graduates. We sell the house. Move late summer. Felipe into Uncle Brian’s apartment. Kyle and I with Pop and Grammy. Jimmy joining one or the other. Break ground at the lake sometime next spring. God willing. All of it. God Willing.

This morning. Saturday. We sleep a bit later, making up for a late-night shift at the Senior Class Party. Still in PJs when Rick calls to say he’s on his way over. He’s crossing the street, and I’m dressing quick to sign papers. Papers saying This Thing Is Real, and of course I’ve known it. But now it’s official, and we’re pulling out calendars to sync up our summer plans with plans for closing, and everything is happening all at once.

It couldn’t be more perfect. Every detail the best possible outcome. Price and move date, and “Rick says they have kids.” All this emotion, kept in check, and this fact, finally, bringing the tears. “It’s a great house for a family, and I’m glad about the kids.” I look at Kiana’s hand-lettered sign, hanging above the front door. And for their children a refuge. Rick says something about an opportunity for ministry, and there’s a lump in my throat. Can a home be holy? I’m already praying.

All of this, God willing. Yesterday, before Acapulco, pre-graduation celebratory dinner, my own parents arrived with bikes and just enough time for a couple of loops around the neighborhood. “Are you sure you should do it?” Mom’s wondering if we’re having second thoughts, and I tell her what I’ve told myself a dozen times. “God has orchestrated so many details. It feels like His plan.”

And then, last night, our last graduation, taking pictures out by the pond. Kyle and I are talking to the Head of School, our lifelong friend and former neighbor. “You told that story, years ago, when you spoke at chapel.” Twenty years back, give or take, we’d put the house on the market another time, too. “Your dream house, and you felt like God told you to lay it down.” Jake retells our Abraham story, and I catch my breath. And He gave it back.

He gave it back, a lifetime ago. This house. I remember now, I was pregnant with Nils.

And now it’s Saturday afternoon, and I sit at Starbucks waiting out two more showings and a Realtor’s Open House, already scheduled. Allowing my brain to reengage while I process thoughts the best I know how. By telling the story. This crazy story, everything happening all at once, and every detail feels like His plan.

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