It went away the same way it came: with our families and our cars and our sweat.
Yesterday marked the end of our current Front Room Studio location. We signed a lease and were handed the keys a little over one year ago. We had big plans for creativity, learning, growing, and gathering.
We did almost everything we envisioned, except for the part where we stayed longer than a year. We didn’t see that coming last year. We didn’t see it coming in January.
But here we are.
I don’t want to spend my time writing out a list of the reasons it was time to go, but a pretty disappointing landlord and obedience would top the list.
In March, Jessi and I were both gone from the office for a few weeks because of spring break. She was in Florida, and I was at home trying to manage the kids and finish a kitchen remodel. I took the two week we were away from the office to pray. I needed to know how to keep the office open, generate the revenue we needed to, and find the space to do it all.
I needed ideas, inspiration, and answers.
What I got instead was a pretty clear response that it was time to go.
But I can make this work, God. I know how to hustle. I have ideas. I have people and workshops and meetings lined up and connections.
I can make this sustainable.
And in a million little ways, He told me no.
You’re good at making things work, but this isn’t what I’m calling you to do right now.
I didn’t accept this for a while. I had lunch with trusted friends, talked to my mom, prayed more.
Everything in my nature wants to rebel from what I’m told to do. I did it when I was a toddler, I do it now. Everyone *knows* what they should do, maturity is actually doing it.
For me, I’ll do it, but I want to do it my own way.
This has, on many, many occasions, backfired on me. But I have yet to learn.
For months, Jessi and I had been going back and forth about what to do when the lease came up for renewal. We both wanted the same things, but were also concerned about the same issues.
Basically, we had made no decision.
So in April from the top of the St. Louis Arch, I texted Jessi I thought we should talk about leaving the space. Texting from 630 feet up in the air felt like bad timing, but some other things were happening too, and it couldn’t wait.
I’m on board, and it’s for the best, Jessi replied. But it’s bittersweet.
Yes, that. One word for the road: bittersweet.
So we spent the last few months doing all the things we had dreamed about but hadn’t done yet. More workshops and gatherings. Doing a live show for the podcast, holding meetings with creatives and dreamers. Suddenly with a deadline, things became clearer.
As Chris climbed the ladder and took down lights yesterday, I stood in the empty space and said thank you. The walls at 33 E. Main Street held lots of emotions for us. They held tears, laughter, pain, forgiveness, excitement, friendship, hard conversations, growth, and death.
Jessi and I are not the same people we were when we walked into this space last June, full of dreams and design ideas. We lost some things here. We gained a lot more.
I didn’t expect the best thing to come from our office to be the conversations we had there. Who knew what Jessi and I really needed was a safe place to land when home and families and friends felt too shaky.
For me, the last part of letting our studio go was pride. Pride that I did something that felt incomplete. My therapist would say this is my perfectionism peeking through. I would say it’s just that we could have made it work. We could have kept going. We could have stayed.
But it would have, probably, ended badly. Ended messy. Ended with emotions other than bittersweet smiles and tears.
And so we left with fondness and hopefulness and obedience and our friendship.
The Front Room Studio lives on. It lives on in the place we’ll continue to record The Not Terrible Podcast wherever that is. The Front Room Studio lives on in the book club that’s moving to the local library, the Bible study moving to a nearby coffee shop, and the workshops we’ll still put on, just in other locations
We had to leave the space, but we’re not leaving all the things it gave us, which if I’m being really honest, is each other.