Billowing clouds are huddled around Mount Olympus’s twin peaks. Jagged and rugged, it is a mountain that has captivated me from the first day we drove into the Salt Lake valley. Before we became parents, and Erin worked a hellish schedule as a resident, I would race up the mountain’s flanks in the fading light and photograph the sun falling into the western desert as the red snake of commuter tail lights wound across the valley. It is a beautiful mountain that I have watched change with the season and shifting light. It has given me inspiration and adventure and has calmed my soul. In a few weeks I’ll look at Mt Olympus’s northern flank one last time as I guide the car east.
I’m not sad to leave this majestic mountain, the diverse landscape, nor the city where we have lived for six years. Closing this chapter of our life at this time seems right. After all we stayed three years longer than we ever thought we would. It is the friends I will miss, some of whom we have known since our arrival here. Those, the ones we’ve known the longest, have followed much the same path as we have- getting married, having children, and soon moving on from here to raise their girls in a smaller town. Others we met not too long ago, but with our common bond of Christian beliefs they welcomed us with open arms. It is this small group that has been such a wonderful support over the last year, praying for us, checking in on us, bringing food and offering an ear to listen. They have become not only great friends but also our spiritual mentors. Others still, we have come to know through work, and the bond of parenthood has brought us even closer together. In all cases our children are around the same age and have formed friendships of their own that bring all of us great joy.
Regardless of where each of us finally ends up, we will have this time together where our lives became intertwined with the joys and stresses of making our mark on the world. Where life stopped being about the adventures we could have as couples and became about raising a family, about teaching our children the importance of having the Lord in their lives. Where we celebrated life and leaned on one another when times were hard. A time when, though not related, we became a family none the less.