In my sophomore year of college, Brandon asked me to take a road trip with him. We drove to Madison, where his sister was living, to rescue a big blue couch before it went in the dumpster. She called because she thought it was an awesome couch and couldn’t believe her office building was just going to throw it away.
At first, it lived in his dad’s house in Cedar Rapids, but before too long, Brandon was at Simpson College with me and the blue couch came along, too. We lived in a co-ed theme house and the blue couch had center stage in our living room. Debates, drinks, friendships, and gamers sprawled all over that couch. It was our senior year… a time of making decisions, finding new directions, and going different ways.
Brandon moved back home and his dad had long since replaced the furniture. So, the couch, our couch, came with me as I made the trek to Nashville for seminary. It lived in the middle of my living room in my duplex on Poston. It was where we held Jeopardy Style study sessions, where my friend came out as Jewish, where we kept a long-distance relationship alive through phone calls… And then the couch moved with me to the townhouse I’d share for a couple of years.
Brandon moved to Nashville too. The couch was there… for the start of my obsession with Grey’s Anatomy… for the conversations with Glen where he kept reminding me I’d make a good pastor… for the night Brandon and I broke up (but just for a night) because we weren’t sure how ministry and marriage wedded together.
And then we did get married. We moved that blue couch into our first, little, one bedroom apartment.
Before the year was up, we moved again. Back home, to Iowa.
My first church, our first real house, and the blue couch.
Oh, and cats. We added some kittens when we arrived home. And the couch was never the same. Claw marks, stuffing coming out on the ends.
I got up early on Sunday mornings and wrote sermons on the couch. I reconnected with old friends, and we made new ones on that couch.
It moved with us one more time to Cedar Rapids… tattered… grungy… and sat in a room we barely used.
So when the time came to transition again, to Des Moines, we thought about leaving it, for good, in the dumpster.
But that couch still has life in it. This summer, I bought some new fabric and if I ever find time, I plan to reupholster the whole thing. The cats are declawed now and that couch has too many damn memories in it.