Those three phrases are stacked like bullet points on the torn yellow sheet of tablet paper pinned to my bedroom board. Two prickly pins hold the sheet in place, as if it a sudden gust of wind would knock it down. Looking back, I’m not sure why I chose two pins, when just one is perfectly sufficient. It’s as if I needed to physically affirm the importance of these words. They needn't slip from my mind anytime soon. They are here to stay.
In reviewing my previous blog posts, I recognize that it’s been more than a month since I last wrote. I find writing to be like that sometimes. In seasons filled with extreme flurry, it’s hard for me to sit down and find peace in writing. Writing instead takes on a more stressful attitude; words become a battle, marked by loss.
All that aside, I am here. I can stand up straight. I can chew slowly. And I can breathe deeply. At least right now those three phrases bring me back to a concrete place, where my mind is not racing between our upcoming move and the loss of proximity to so many friends and the city--with all its tantalizing tastes, sights and sounds at my doorstep. In remembering to practice the simple things, I recognize my intense longing for stability and a sense of home.
Since I wrote last, so many big changes have taken place or are in process. Ken and I officially gave our move-out notice and later this month, we will walk away from our second apartment we've together called home. Weekly community group meetings at our place have been a delight and also an opportunity for relational and spiritual growth. Yet, our time with our church group is coming to a close. Likewise, I have mixed feelings about leaving Seattle. While I tire of my many walks along the urine- and vomit-stained sidewalks here in our district, I must admit that being so close to such depravity has opened my eyes to the world that I live in. I’m recognizing that while safety and comfort rest easily in the suburbs, pain and brokenness lie awake in the city. It is here that Christ’s plan for the world takes on a fresh meaning for me. Here, in the city, where drivers outside our apartment slam on their breaks and barely bypass accidents, and occasionally scream obscenities to the wind, I see something that I've missed my whole life apart from the city. It’s a kind of stark desperation that can be witnessed by living here. By partaking in the clutter and messiness of humanity.
In a few weeks, my husband and I will leave this area. We’ll close this chapter on what has been four years of time spent developing friendships, living intentionally, and pursuing community. But in faith, we both believe that God is calling us to someplace new. Someplace different. It is in this hope that we venture out, in certain ways willing to compromise and leave behind some of the expectations that once felt so significant—such as being someplace that is warm year-round, close to a big city, near to my dearest college friends, and brimming with obvious opportunities. Instead, we are choosing to pursue proximity to family, specifically Ken’s family. In late July, we will take all of our belongings and drive the Yukon to Alaska. It is there that we hope to put down some roots, at least for a time. A time that is yet to be determined. We’re excited and also scared. OK, maybe I’m the scared one. But I think part of being honest is admitting my fears. I’m afraid of a big move. I’m worried about saying goodbye to so many friends. I’m scared that maybe it won’t work out. And still, I keep moving forward, pressing into God for a faith that rests assured. A faith that is marked by seasons of waiting and seasons of action. Our time to move forward seems to have come and I look forward to sharing how God speaks to us in this new adventure. Until then, I recall my small note stuck to my cork board: Stand up straight. Chew slowly. Breathe deeply.
I don’t need to figure everything out. It’ll come. In God’s time.