The Last Pour
I’m writing to you from my favorite corner of our living room sofa. When I look just past the top of my laptop screen, I see the Amazon-box-turned-rocketship that my sons have been decorating for weeks—a surrealist collage of ribbon scraps, cotton balls, and sparkling sea creature stickers. To my left sits a stack of books seven deep. They demand that I pay attention to them soon and nearly audibly remind me that I have twenty-two days left to turn in the final assignments for my graduate program.
There’s an unfolded pile of laundry nearby as well, and a plastic circle with a card proclaiming “I am a bathtub” still tucked inside it—untidied remnants from yesterday’s round of Headbanz in which my four-year-old only wanted to be a soccer ball and began every turn with “am I black and white?”
These trappings of our life scattered about the room tell a story of us, of the things we’re learning and things we love, of the ways we are changing and growing as individuals and as a family. The Steep tells a similar story—a story of who I am, of what I’ve discovered and devoted myself to, of how I’ve stooped lower and stood taller over the past nearly fourteen months. It tells a story of finding my voice, then losing it, then finding it again.
When I started writing The Steep, I set out to prepare a long table where we could grow in understanding of God, of ourselves, and of one another. That was a lofty goal, and I don’t know if I reached it. I do have a sense, however, that The Steep has fulfilled its purpose, even if that purpose shifted over time, or if I can’t perfectly define it. The story of The Steep has come to its final chapter—a realization that’s as bittersweet to me as it is clear.
The Steep gave me a place to do one of the things I love most—explore, mine the world for gold, spend time among the silt, and share my discoveries. I didn’t know in the early days that learning how to write about myself would give me the tools I needed to begin writing about others, but it did. The Steep helped me cultivate my attention to detail and to grow in confidence that all these little bits of existence—the board games on the floor and books on the couch cushions and pain in the past and fear about the future—they mean something.
I saw this with tremendous clarity in the experience of writing the Prophetic Survivors series. The pulpit, the pew, the press coverage—they mean something. I hope The Steep has helped us understand a bit more of what they mean, who survivors really are, why it all matters so much. To the survivors who trusted me with their stories, every moment of speaking with you and and writing about your lives felt like an honor of the holiest variety. Thank you for letting me join you in flicking the lights on in dark rooms and working toward an illuminated future.
You, dear readers, have been a profound joy to me. I have loved writing for you and taken heart in your kind words and responses so many times. Thanks to Kelsey Hency’s vision and hospitality, Fathom has provided a gracious, spacious home for me to learn how to set a table where we could learn together. I’m so very glad you pulled up a chair. For all my efforts at hosting, I feel like you were the ones serving me all along.
He won’t like this, but I cannot wave goodbye until I make sure you all know how integral to The Steep Fathom Editor Jed Ostoich has been. (Jed, you do not have my permission to edit out this paragraph.) When I couldn’t turn my ideas into complete sentences or terrified myself with the direction I found my columns going, he helped me find the words I needed and the confidence to share them. Thank you, Jed.
If The Steep were an object, I’d find it nestled among the scatter in this living room. It’s a part of my life that’s become familiar and beloved. And now, to treat it with care is to pick it up and put it away, to slip it onto a shelf where, every once in a while, I’ll go pick it up and dust if off, just to look at it and remember. And I’ll remember you, too, the readers who trusted me enough to sit down at my table and talk and take a sip.
If you want to keep in touch, I’d be delighted. You can find me @abbyjperry and abbyjperry.com. But whether this is a “see you on Twitter!” or a true farewell, please know I’m forever thankful for you.
Well, there aren’t many ways left to say “I’m grateful” or “I’m leaving now,” so I suppose I just have to do it. I’ll miss this space and think back on it fondly and often. Thank you for drinking deeply with me.