The best Christmas gift I received this past season was a sentence. On hearing that we’d bought a house in the neighborhood, a church member and friend exclaimed, “We’re so excited for us, because it means you’ll be staying a while.” It was in that moment that I knew we were home.
In 2013-14, I…
Had a second child.
Lived on two continents.
Drove halfway across the continental U.S. Twice. With two children in the backseat.
Got two jobs.
Lived in two different houses.
Bought my first home.
Any one of those things would have been life-altering. Doing them all within just over a year was, well, exciting… and busy. And exhausting. It’s not surprising that stress has taken a little toll on us all, and I needed to give myself permission to let go of a few things for a while. Like cleaning. And knowing what day of the week it is. And social networking.
Lately I feel like I’m just waking up, emerging from hibernation with a few cobwebs in the corner and an itch to spring clean. It’s time, once again, to start the next big adventure, but this one will be completely new to us: staying put. We now own a house. Half an acre. Three trees. A whole lot of wood paneling and vintage linoleum. Believe it or not, this whole new world was terrifying to me- until I made a revealing observation: From here on out, everything we do is a step towards normal.
Each box I unpack will stay unpacked. In fact, I now have a basement full of boxes which I probably don’t need to keep. I can paint the walls whatever color I want and they will stay that way, without the permission of a committee or landlord. For years as we’ve travelled I’ve left a trail of tulips behind me, planting the bulbs in one season and not being around to see them bloom. This year I will celebrate my own darn tulips!! Our kids can make friends and grow with them- and so can we.
I’m beginning to understand the observations of Solomon in a whole new light. A time to uproot and a time to plant. A time to throw away and a time to keep. To everything there is indeed a season. (Ecclesiastes 3… sort-of) So often we dwell on the dramatic and life-changing, but there is beauty in the normal, the routine, the every-day blessings.
This year we are literally staying put because we have no more vacation time. I have a strong sense that my work is right where I’m meant to be. What do you do when you have no place to go? I guess we paint a few walls. Get our house in order. Dust off a few dreams.
Here’s to an uneventful 2015.
Thanks for patient with me lately. More tales of our un-adventures coming soon!