Now I know that love can be nurtured. Like a newborn breathing their first bits of life. And I hate the saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost than not loved at all.” Not because of it’s main thesis, but because of what’s in the middle. Lost. I have found that real love can’t ever be lost. To me, love is an energy. It cannot be created or destroyed. It has been and always will be there. If what you think is love turns into contempt, then I don’t believe it was ever love at all. I moved to Fargo, North Dakota in a desperate attempt to change my life. The change took longer than expected but when it arrived, it saved my life. I found my place in broken down buildings and church basements. Random places and even more random faces. Some stick around for a while, other’s leave as fast as they entered. Like a tornado sweeping through a few hearts along the way. But the message was the same, there’s something to this tiny, hidden madness. I never felt I knew what a home really was. Was it a house, created by swift hands? A heart in which my being unravels into? Was it the very room I was sitting in, week after week? I listened, I learned, I watched, I worked, and I waited. God, did I wait sometimes. Countless instances of me staring at the white walls of an empty apartment wondering who the fuck I was. But I kept my pace, I started to have hope. I spoke but more importantly I listened. Over time, I realized what I was doing was building a home. Only the home was inside me. I laid a foundation of program, one of true worth. A foundation that no matter what faults I created, laid untouched. Steps were built for me in this home. I just had to climb them. There’s a roof that sheltered me from every storm life can throw. I found that my home is wherever I take it. It’s within my soul, whatever that is. I came into these basements broken, shattered beyond recognition. I carried such weight from simple trauma and self-obsessed routines. I was taught how to let go of the weight and stop digging myself in circles. I “leave” this town still imperfect but healing in every sense of the word. And with me I take my home, built by those who came before me and those who have been with me along the way. I’ve laughed with you in this home, cried with you in this home. Every piece of who I truly am is built within the framework. The framing is strong, solid. But this home won’t last forever, I only hope that it carries me to the next chapter beyond. People will come and go inside these walls. Some will stay a while, but not in their entirety. Because things of man and earth end. That is the only guarantee. The laughs will fade, the tears will dry. Life will continue it’s trajectory as it always has. At first and for a long time, this broke my heart. Over the years, that brokenness turned into a delicate acceptance. If things of this world lasted forever, none of it would be cherished. So enjoy the time your life can give, no matter how short-lived some things may be. As cliché as it sounds, the only thing that will be left standing after all of it is love. Memories will become washed out over time but nothing can take away the imprint of how someone made you feel. And these someone’s taught me how to live, how to love. How to enjoy each moment, even the ones I used to wish away. I will take these imprints to the grave. I built a family here. I cultivated relationships. Some fleeting, some still standing. But with me I take all the knowledge gained to continue growing. Not weeping over what once was and now is not. But looking ahead and yet staying in the moment. Today I celebrate 6 years clean. In exactly 17 days I will be moving my little family out of Fargo. As insignificant as that seems, it’s a sentence I never thought I’d say. Where we are going feels incredibly close but so far away at the same time. I hate this town, the weather sucks. College kids and bars galore. But goddamn do I love this town, for the people it led me to. For all the memories I wish I could have back and embrace for just a little while longer. The moments that felt like they would never end, turning into small points in time. Fellowships, meetings, campfires, cookouts. I love them all. Even if moving leads to the last time we talk, it doesn’t mean that the love is gone. It has imprinted on my heart forever. Thank you for building my home with me. Whether you came to simply paint a wall or build an entire room. Thank you for loving me along my way.