We’ve been Tennesseans for over five months now and it’s crazy to think that we’ve already owned a home in the South for longer than we lived as renters uncertain about their next move. It’s just another reminder that although being in the midst of it may feel like an eternity, it turns out to be but a blink of an eye once it’s all said and done.
That’s a truth I find myself clinging to often.
The time-frame which we are allowed to say that we’re new to the area is quickly dwindling. We often hear that it takes about a year to feel at home in a new location, and based on what we’ve experienced so far I’m certain it will take every bit of the next six months to establish a true sense of belonging.
This half-way mark is one I’ve actually been dreading a little because it just so happened to coincide with our last pre-scheduled trip back to Nebraska. Somehow having those return dates penned in to our calendar up until this point made it a little easier to drive away. Yet now that our final order of business there is complete, for the first time in our entire lives we left our families without saying “Be back soon.”
Missing the day to day with our loved ones is part of the pain that comes with being here. You take for granted the fact that you have little things in common with them – such as weather – until you live 900 miles apart. And we’re missing some of the major events as well. We recently found out that a new niece or nephew will be joining the family late this fall, and I hugged my not-even-showing-yet sister goodbye uncertain of whether I would see her in person again before she’s holding that baby in her arms. I never in a million years thought I would be that person. Ever.
We were those people who delivered birthday gifts face to face, cheered from the sidelines at the nephews’ games, and never missed a family get-together. We are a tight-knit family with roots that run deep in the Heartland, and as much as we enjoy adventure, we value our comfort zone tremendously.
The Mister and I simply are not those people who go out on their own and build a life separate from everyone and thing they know. And yet, we are those people.
That contradiction is precisely the reason it is impossible to answer the question of Why we Moved without explaining How it Happened. There really never was a moment of clarity prior to our move. We are still uncertain about what our future holds and why exactly Middle Tennessee is where we are at. To be honest, we aren’t even sure how long we plan to be here. What we do know is that the Lord was in this. The process leading up to the move had us in a constant state of feeling torn between wanting to stay near family and knowing that we had to love our Savior even more. The sense of peace and hope that was offered through actively pursuing this move offered satisfaction in ways our family never could, and yet it felt selfish to think that joy might exist elsewhere. The only imaginable way to reconcile such conflicting emotions is to know without a doubt that it was never in our own hands to begin with.
The fact that there isn’t a single moment that we can look back on with conviction that we did anything on our own was so difficult at the time, and yet now allows us to rest confidently assured that we are where we are suppose to be. Even when it hurts to be here. Especially because it took a strength greater than our own to leave.
It was perhaps the most heartbroken I’ve seen my family. It was certainly the most grief I have personally experienced thus far. Loss has a way of making you want to cling to everything that you have left, which is probably why it was so easy to call it quits on the whole “move somewhere else” notion after Grandma passed away.
On a Sunday evening, October 4th, 2015 – more than six months after first entertaining the idea that we might move away from Nebraska – we gave up the thought of leaving home altogether. We had been holding still in an apartment for months leading up to that point, and now required our next home to be lined up within 60 days. Besides, we were determined to find an end to the discomfort of waiting around for answers. Without a bit of endurance remaining, we were left with no choice but to surrender all of the hopes and dreams that had been born the moment the opportunity arose.
The very next day, Kelly received the phone call. A job offer for the position in Murfreesboro. He didn’t contact me to discuss it. He didn’t have to. We had talked about it enough times to know our agreed upon decision. He accepted the position on the spot. His start-date in Tennessee was scheduled for just four weeks later.
Finally, an answer to the question we’d been asking for months. The conclusion that we had been diligently praying for was upon us, yet relief felt nothing like I had anticipated. In that moment, what I truly wanted was to take it all back. To rewind and just return to the way things had been before. Had it not been for the fact that it was out of our hands, I’m not sure we would have gone through with it.
The next few weeks would play out as a whirl-wind of lessons in how to relocate your life. The Mister focused his efforts on the logistics – lining up a realtor, bank, and movers – while I managed things on the emotional front – scheduling goodbyes and somehow ensuring we maintained a level of sanity through it all.
I suppose that in a way all of the chaos was a good distraction from the overwhelming pain that is ripping away from everything that you know. It came in waves. One moment we were consumed by details. The next, completely overcome with grief. I’m still not quite sure how to process the emotions of leaving a family in the midst of figuring out what life looks like without a dearly departed member, and yet one step at a time, one day at a time was our only option.
In the moments when I most regretted our decision to set all of this in motion, when all I wanted to do was plant myself deeply into that hard Nebraska clay, there was one glaring truth that deafened all of the arguments I came up with to stay. Nothing could ever be the way it was again.
The reality is, our time on this earth is short. Even the difficulty of distance will one day come to pass. Although being in the midst of it may feel like an eternity, it turns out to be but a blink of an eye once it’s all said and done.
Eternity, in the true sense of the word, is without beginning or end. Because our hope lies not within our brief time in this world – which will inevitably one day cease to exist – but in the One with whom we will be in the presence of for eternity, we can confidently step out in to the unknown.
We may not have all of the answers. We may be uncertain about when, where, why and how to move forward. But what we do know is that the Lord is with us each and every day. Somehow, perhaps even in ways we cannot comprehend, His purpose for our life will be used for a good greater than our own.
And that, in short, is why we moved.
COMING UP, NEXT WEEK: