What a difference a year or two can make. Just two years ago we celebrated our first Christmas in New England. It was full of wonder - and not around the birth of Jesus. We were full of hesitation. Full of fear. We did a lot of pretending. Pretending that things were okay. Pretending that we liked it here. Pretending that we were in it for the long haul. We did a lot of crying that Advent. A lot of reflecting. A lot of wondering.
This Post was originally published on December 10, 2015. Life looks so different today than it did then. So much better. So much more full of life. And love. And happiness. And yet I know if we hadn't walked the journey that we've walked, we wouldn't we feel as grateful as we feel to now be on the other side.
Tomorrow I'll share with you a reflection on the journey from the other side - but for tonight, I bring you an oldie, but a goodie. Because sometimes you can't see just how far you've come without looking back to see where you started. And because maybe ... just maybe ... you find yourself in a place where you're feeling a little more darkness and despair than happiness and light. Maybe you don't know what's next for you. If that's you, I pray these words bring you a little sense of peace in the midst of your despair.
What a bold word for this Advent season. One that I’ve been meditating on all day. It’s pretty appropriate for what I’m feeling these days. These days have been so dark and so lonely.
We had been gone just three nights when I got a text from my sister that said, “Are you loving Boston?!”
I refrained from bursting into tears as I simply replied, “We are tired and weary from traveling, but we are trying our hardest to have a good attitude.”
I didn’t know how sad I would be to make the move. We had talked about it our entire life together – I knew D wanted to explore some place other than Atlanta. He had lived there his entire life. When the job offer came, I’m the one who said “Let’s do it! It’ll be an adventure. If we hate it, we can move back.” It seemed like such an easy decision. It is Harvard after all – who can really turn that down?
But in our final days there … and in our beginning days here … the sadness began to set in. I feel like I left my whole world … for the unknown. It wasn’t perfect – but it was home. And I truly did love it. And when it became time to go … I just didn’t want to leave. I wanted to chain myself to the front door and tell the new owner – I’m sorry … we’ve changed our mind … take your money and find a different house. This one isn’t for sale.
I didn’t know how hard it would be for my sweet A. She’s such an old soul, that kid. She feels such big emotions, and at the tender young age of 3, she just isn’t sure how to process them. No one slept much our first night away. I think we all felt a little homeless … and I guess in some ways that’s what we were. In between homes – all our stuff on a truck – it was no wonder we all felt a little out of sorts. After being in a hotel a few days, even a very nice one, we were all just ready to be home.
When our stuff arrived a few days ago, we all began to feel a little more settled. We are now all in our own beds, with our own sheets, and we are even using our old ratty towels that I almost threw away but packed up at the last minute. We were all craving some sense of familiarity – some sense of being home.
We’ve started to hang a few things on the wall – and that helps a bit too – but when it comes right down to it, I’m simply feeling homesick. I miss my house … my neighbors … my church(es) … my family. I miss the Beltline. The Botanical Gardens. Zoo Atlanta. Piedmont Park. The High. Ponce City Market. Walks around Grant Park – my own backyard. The Barred Owl that hung out in the trees across the street.
So I’m trying … I’m trying to be courageous and dare to have faith! I know God has called us here for some reason – and although I have no idea what that reason is, I’m trying to have faith that it will be revealed to me soon. I’ve been thinking a lot about how our journey is happening right in the midst of Advent. I think about how the shepherds, the wise men, all of us … all expecting the light of God to shine on something grand and glorious – but instead it shines on a lowly manger. Something about that manger should be comforting to me in this time of transition … right?
And while I know in my gut we made the right decision for our little family … these days have been too short, too dark, and too lonely. I find myself praying for peace, for comfort, for connections. For strength to make this adventure a good one and for courage to continue stepping out on this limb in faith that God will provide everything that we need.