I’ve just finished reading the novel The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. It is a story about a woman who cannot be remembered. As soon as someone leaves her presence, if she disappears from sight, the memory of her fades and the person no longer recognizes her.
I am reading this book as I prepare to move from the city where I’ve lived for the past 11 years. Each day I look at items in my house and think about how I will price them for a household sale, who I can offer particular books to, who might appreciate gently used towels. All of these items that make this apartment our home, that help us live our daily lives.
A friend who will buy some of our furniture told me, “It will be nice to have something of yours and we can think of you when we use it.”
We can think of you.
Ah, what a phrase. To know that we will be thought of.
Because what tugs at my heart is not the stuff in my house. Those things collect dust and get scuffed or cracked. Items need replacing after time. Items are left behind when the suitcase gets too full.
No, what squeezes my heart as I look around my home are the thoughts of leaving the life we have built here.
Addie LaRue leads an invisible life, free to love others and able to remember each person she meets but no one can remember her. Truly, she cannot build a life. I think this is a nightmare of existence. Human beings long for connection, to know that we matter and that we have purpose. Sitting here thinking about leaving behind our friends and our church, the kids’ school and my husband’s office, people’s faces fill my mind and I think “How long will they remember us after we leave?” And I’m thankful we did not live an invisible life. I’m thankful we have been able to live a life of purpose here.
The world will keep spinning. We will leave Cairo and start over in Texas.
It is the way of life (especially our overseas life) and I am not fearful of this pattern. We leave our marks as we are able and imprint on our hearts the impressions of our loved ones. Some memories fade, but not all. This is the way of creatures bound by time.
And yet, even bound by time as we are, we can touch eternity. Faith, hope, and love will remain. How we love others has the ability to reach beyond our years. This life we lived here – founded on faith, established in love, constructed in hope – leaves its gentle mark in the cement of ever after.