It’s been 12 days since officially moving up to Minnesota. I remember the days when life was slow and I could blog all the “important” milestones about seminary like getting accepted, meeting fellow students on Zoom, and selling our house. But just as I predicted, the biggest milestone— the ACTUAL MOVING PART— has come and gone without a word.
I’m kind of bummed I lost the opportunity of deep reflection. But my task-orientation and obsession to conquer the to-do list most definitely overtook my desires to slow-down and write, so here I am 12 days later wondering where to even start.
Backlogging these 2 weeks doesn’t sound fun, so I’m not going to. However, in short, our move was stressful and wonderful, organized and chaotic, beautiful and ugly. We’ve met neighbors, churchgoers, and friends. We explored forests, lakes, raspberry bushes, playgrounds, and ninja courses. The past 12 days have been a wild adventure of transition. I’ve enjoyed almost every single moment of it. I kid you not. I’ve been having a ball over here.
And then, yesterday, it kind of hit me. Our property manager came over to work on repairs, and he told us about the homeowner, which reminded me, this isn’t my home. My little brother and sister-in-law had their first baby, and we are six whole whopping hours away. I have been running errands and feeling very lost in a strange city. When friends from our old church text me, I don’t even know what to say, because they all feel just so far away.
For the first time ever, I laid on my pillow remembering these “olden” days and felt a small prick of remorse. I wanted to be laying on my pillow that was located in Papillion Nebraska, on Shawnee Road. I longed for the predictability, the safety, the rhythm, and company from home.
I suppose I’m experiencing a small version of culture shock. Or moving-away shock.
From the first day I laid my eyes on our rental, it bewitched me. The adorableness charmed my heart. I lost myself in the quaintness. It felt like a Cinderella dream come true- I was LIVING in a vacation home! Everything felt dreamy.
And although those adventurous and awe-filled feelings still remain, the truth of the matter is: this isn’t ours. We don’t own it. We don’t even do the repairs! We have little control, and little say. Quite frankly, the landlord could kick us out tomorrow. I have thought this over and have seen it as a blessing mostly. A soon end to the gift has brought with it a motivation to get the most out of it, to be thankful and enjoy it while it lasts.
Now, however, surfaces the reality of loss. I feel a bit… homeless, confused, and unstable. What’s even the point of hanging a picture? What’s even the point of deep cleaning someone else’s storage room? What’s the point of sizing curtains for windows that don’t belong to us? What’s even the point of settling in, when I know in 4 years all our junk will find itself right back stuffed into cardboard?
Meh! So much goes for the glass-half-full person, huh?
Maybe the honeymoon stage is starting to wear off. Maybe reality is sinking in, and that is just part of the transition.
Really, probably what is happening is all the fun tasks are basically done, and the jobs that remain are not-fun, like the cobwebs in the corner and the creepy laundry room that needs to be scrubbed with dust rags and soap.
One of my favorite things about living here so far is the closeness to nature. I don’t have to drive anywhere to behold God’s glorious creation, I simply walk outside. And part of the joyous access to the outdoors has been a wild raspberry bush pathway. Our neighbors showed us a little hiking trail about 5 minutes walking distance from our house. The kids and I love trekking over to stuff our faces with teeny, little black raspberries. I cannot get enough of it!
Then I had the brilliant idea to hand-pick five cups of wild raspberries and attempt to make them into a dessert for our friends we are having over for dinner. How epic would that be?! I researched wild raspberry recipes, contemplated the options, and finally decided to make a classic lattice-top pie.
But all day, I was hesitant. I questioned my plan. I kept poking around to see if there was a better recipe that would really show off our delicious berries. What if the pie ended up too seedy? What if you can’t even tell the berries are freshly picked and wild as can be? What if I ruin it and all the time spent in the forest was thrown away in my bad-baking skills? They would have been better off with the squirrels!
I asked Bobby probably a million times for his advice on my berry dessert. In my mind, I didn’t want to waste something so precious. I didn’t want five whole cups of jeweled fruit to go down the drain.
Bobby, with complete confidence, responded to my doubts, “Make a pie. It’s going to be great.” Not a tinge of question accompanied his decision. As far as he was concerned, it was settled. Wild raspberry pie will satisfy.
And when the deal was sealed and I was making a mess of our hot kitchen, Bobby exclaimed, “This is going to be divine!”
What does wild raspberry pie have to do with anything?
I counseled myself all day long, to simply use what I had, and to have no fear in the consumption of something good. I brought unnecessary anxiety upon myself trying to assure all my baking labor would not be done in vain. Similarly, I think I need to counsel myself to simply live where I am and have no fear in investing in something even though I know it is short-term. I don’t need to bring unnecessary anxiety upon myself trying to assure that every exertion of work has an equal or greater outcome. I can simply consume all that is good here! Just like I learned to take a risk in making the native berry pie, so can I take a risk in learning to make our lives here into something, for the simple sake of enjoying the gift!
If I didn’t make the pie, then what would happen? The moundful of perky berries rot. Similarly, if I don’t take life as it’s given to me today, my heart will rot in depressed ambiguity.
And the real truth of the matter is, nothing is mine anyway. No house deed, dollar amount, or certificate accomplishes anything in heaven’s eyes. God owns everything. And whether I “own” it or “rent” it, it’s all God’s! And what I do with what God has given me, in the time in which God has entrusted it to me, is my job and my joy. I can certainly mourn the loss of comfort, predictably, and relationships. But I ought not sink away in greener-grass-syndrome. There are too many delicious morsels of life right now that can be mixed with sugar and spice to make everything nice. And I mean that. I may not be able to hold my two-day-old niece in my arms this weekend, but I can take a walk with a pregnant friend from our cohort and dream with her about the day she will hold her little son. I may not be able to hold a solid conversation with my old church friends like before, but boy am I excited to see how God will put a new dimension into old relationships to show off his amazing, universal church. I may be experiencing a minuscule culture shock (“Toto, we aren’t in Nebraska anymore!”), but what a wonderful opportunity to press into God stretching us, growing us, and expanding our capacity to behold a new part of this insanely intriguing world he designed.