Our family is going through the pain of transition. To begin, we have to go back a little ways. My parents took me and my brothers on many trips to experience many different places. I could not believe how large the world was and how different places were. I wanted to experience them all. It became hard to ever imagine staying in just one place. I loved experiencing new places and new people, that it became part of my life.
In college, I figured I could stay at one college and meet a few friends and experience one city or I could go to four different schools. I could live in four cities and develop four different sets of friends, all with different view points and experiences. This was both good and bad. I met many folks but missed out on the experiencing of walking through four years with the same people. This college hopping shaped who I was becoming.
Next, Jessica and I moved to Minneapolis, MN for three years. Over those three years we truly experienced all that was Minnesota. We tried almost every restaurant, went to the North shore, and boundary waters. We loved all that we learned through our new friendships over those years. That time shaped our new marriage and became a part of who we were becoming.
Then we moved to Chicago for Seminary. Even though I grew up an hour from Chicago, living in Chicago was much different. I thought I knew Chicago until we lived there. Over the four years we lived there we experienced as much as possible. Since we didn’t have a car we traveled all over the city and hit almost every neighborhood. We ate lots of good and cheap food, much of it we crave to this day. We met so many good new friends and learned many things from those relationships. It was hard to leave Chicago because it became part of who we were now becoming. We had two girls born there and it was now part of our story as a young family.
After Chicago we made the move to Saskatoon, SK. This was both a difficult and exciting move for us. It was hard to leave family and friends behind. It was exciting to imagine all the different things we would learn and experience. In those three years, we were forever changed. Yes, the winters and land was at times harsh. Yes, it was difficult and expensive to visit family. Yes, we had many rough times as a family being so far away from extended family. But, we would not change that for anything. It was the people that changed us. They were the most loving and generous we have ever met. They taught us what it truly means to love. They have changed us forever. We have a little Canadian named Lula that always reminds us that Saskatoon is part of who were are now.
This latest move to Bloomington, IN has been very hard for our family. We left really good friends behind, that we family to us in Saskatoon. Not only did Jessica and I leave friends behind but our daughters left friends as well. One would think coming “home” would be the easiest move. In many ways it has been great, but it still has been hard.
The way that I think about it is to compare it to getting a tattoo. I love the idea of getting tattoos. I love the planning and dreaming up of what I will get and where on my body. I love pouring over the meaning that will be attached to the tattoo. All of the prep work leading up to getting a tattoo is great. Then I find myself in the waiting area of the tattoo shop. As I wait for the artist to get set up, I start to panic. ”What am I doing here?”, “This was a stupid idea.”, “Why did this ever sound like a good plan.’ These and many other doubts start to fill my head. As I am getting the tattoo and the pain shoots up my body, that is when the real fun thoughts kick in. ”How old are you again?” “Is this really worth it?” “This is the last one, buddy.” ”Never again”. Then I drive home glad that it is all over. The pain continues followed by itching. I always have buyers remorse. It doesn’t matter if it is a candy bar or a tattoo.
After a few months and the healing is over something happens. I look at the tattoo with amazement. It becomes a part of me and I am so glad that I got it. The tattoo has deep meaning and I already begin to think of the next one.
Our family is in a sense in the waiting area and on the tattoo table. The doubt filled thoughts about the decision to move come crashing down upon us. We hold on to the reality that the pain and itching are part of the process of the beautiful thing that is in process of being created.
The tattoo attached in my latest one. The dagger is for our little Lula. Her name means famous warrior and we hope she will be a warrior of Love. The Chrysanthemum flower is the city flower of Chicago. That is for our middle daughter Junia. Our hope for her is that she as all of them will now how beautiful and strong she is. The Olive branch is for the oldest, Olive. Our hope for is that she will always bring the peace and love of God to others.