It’s been a while. Lots has happened in the last few weeks and we are going through a rush of changes very quickly. Our time in Ohio is almost complete. Sad, really, because it feels like it barely started. But I’ve realized that the last year and half, while hard, has been a wonderful transitional opportunity for us. I’ve joked that I’m going to beware of years ending in “9” from now on – in 1999, we broke up and I dated someone else (a mistake on sooo many levels). In 1989, Travis’ parents got divorced. In 1979, my little sister was born – oops, I guess that one wasn’t bad, though for my two-year-old self I’m sure the world was ending since I was no longer an only child, able to be the center of attention. Actually, each one of these 9 years helped us to transition into the people we are today and the relationship that we now share. But 2009 was quite the year. I think we’ve both experienced some healing, personally and in our marriage. We’ve come to a place of peace about parenthood, whether or not we get to raise children is in God’s hands. Travis has grappled with his past, all of the childhood traumas that shaped him, and has prevailed. I’ve come to terms with knowing that nothing is in our control, not even the ministry which I thought was a “safe” career.
Eight years ago, when Travis was finishing seminary, I was dead-set against moving to a warm climate. I wanted white Christmases (in Buffalo, we had white Easters, too). I hated the idea of heat and humidity after that year of living in St. Louis. And I hate (HATE) bugs. Now, God is the one who led us to the Buffalo area, and it was a wonderful place for us to start ministry. Many of our relationships there became ones that will last for a lifetime (especially thanks to the internet). Here in Ohio, we’ve formed a couple of those life-long friendship, and experienced some healing and some loss. That’s okay. This year and a half has been a time of transition. I’m not sure I would have been willing to brave the heat of Texas if it weren’t for the experiences we had here. And I’m more than willing. I’m ready!
Funny how God works, too. There are already a lot of people we know from ministry and from school serving in Texas. In our church-work family, we have lots of folks to turn to. It’s kinda nice to know that. And yes, I realize that it’s a big state, but many of them are within a 2-3 hour drive of where we’ll be living (and no, I’m not sharing the name of the town online right now).
Packing up his office last week was hard. I finally think I understand God’s command to Lot and his family to not turn back as they fled. The whole time there, my focus was to get out, move on. I didn’t take time to reminisce or look around. I barely saw anything but the inside of his office. I didn’t need to. While the metaphor is not perfect (I don’t believe the church is going to be destroyed), for us it was done. It’s actually been harder to let go of our last congregation than it is to let go of this one. The door has been closed, and I don’t need to reopen it to wish about what might have been.
So now on to packing up the rest of our lives. Mom flies in tomorrow to help – I am so thankful to have parents who understand this, because my inlaws just don’t. It’s hard for my husband to share his life with them because they can’t begin to understand what it is like to be in ministry. But he has a father-in-law and brother-in-law (thank you to my 1979-born sister for marrying my husband’s friend!) who are in ministry and just GET it.
And we are off… house hunting AGAIN. Packing AGAIN. I don’t mind the packing part so much, but house hunting gets me down. Praying that God leads us to the right house at the right price and helps me keep my sanity in the meantime.