Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Yesterday was, without a doubt, the most encouraging day I have experienced since we’ve been back in the States. The Lord filled it with many good things, and I was amazed at how uplifted my spirit was by the end of the day.

As I lay down to sleep, as usual my thoughts were wandering here and there, and before I knew it I was taking a walk in my mind’s eye.

I loaded the kids up into the buggy, grabbed a few shopping bags, and headed out the door. As I pulled the big, black door closed behind me, I felt the cool wind on my face and wished, once again, that my coat would zip up.

I felt my feet pad down the Lade Braes, around the familiar curves, the weight of my two Scottish-born babies pushing against me. Out through the car park, across the road, and a quick turn to head down South Street.

On my way to the grocery store. I did it almost every day. Sometimes I timed it wrong and all the secondary school kids were out and clogging every sidewalk and aisle. This day all I noticed were the Christmas lights on the trees. I love Christmas lights.

I didn’t give a second thought to the old stone buildings standing shoulder to shoulder along the pavements, the uniqueness of that place. I was just living life, doing what I did all the time. Said a quick hello to the Big Issue lady who always tells me what beautiful babies I have. Up and down the aisles in the grocery store, I knew them by heart.

I could have walked all over that town. I know it like the back of my hand. I have four and a half years’ worth of memories to replay in my mind. But somehow, that little walk to Tesco, one I’ve done a million times, brought me to tears as I tried to fall asleep. I continued remembering, the sounds of a football match in the field on a Sunday afternoon, intentionally walking the long way home so I could feast my eyes on the big Sea. It lead to thoughts of friends who I truly may not see again in this life, whose eyes I may never look into again as we share our hearts with each other. That is the first time I can remember crying about this whole thing. Sure, I cried the night before we left, but that was at 2am and out of utter hopelessness that we would ever be packed and ready to go. This was the first time I opened my heart to the reality that St Andrews is no longer my home.

It seems like it shouldn’t be so easy to leave a place you are so invested in. A place that you have given your heart, a place that has given you your family. How is it possible that all it takes is the closing of a door? A day’s worth of traveling, and suddenly your home is somewhere else? A place where expectations are that you know what you’re doing, that you should slot right back into the space that you left. I guess I’m not the right shape anymore. Sure things are familiar and good, but if home is where the heart is, this isn’t quite home yet.

Part of me wishes that we had spent those years somewhere closer, somewhere that we could feasibly go back and visit when we wanted to. Somewhere that when we left, it didn’t feel so final.

Part of me wishes we had connected less, enjoyed less, been more ready to go.

But that part of me is the coward, the easy way out. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. The good, the hard, the beautiful, the ugly. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I know who I am in St Andrews, with the friends that gave me the confidence to find that person. And it took years to get to that point. Just like it will take time to get there again. To learn a new way of life for our family back on this side of the pond.

Life is not always a means to an end. In the academic world it is easy to think that this time is just the wait for the next exam, graduation, the job. It’s just the in between. But I have realized that if I view each stage as just the wait for the next thing, I’m going to miss all kinds of life in the in between. I’ve realized this before, and it’s a hard thing to allow to mold your perspective. But, there it is.

I’m sure there will be plenty more tears shed. Transition is hard, especially when you’re leaving a place that has meant so much. But, each day is a gift. The Lord is always working and there is always something to be grateful for. This in between? It’s going to be good. I can feel it.


  1. I know exactly how you feel. I don't know how many times I've revisited our apartment or some other part of Aberdeen in my mind over the last year and a half. I don't think a day has gone by that I haven't thought of Scotland since we got back. You'll eventually start to get used to America again, but it'll take a few months. Hope I can hang out with you and your boys while I'm there in February!

  2. Maybe your best post. Ever. (Love the header, btw, usually read on google reader so haven't seen it!) Anyhoo, we were ready to go and our "in between" has been 6 months turned into 18 months going on 24. Not easy, but I've learned the same, I have to embrace today for the blessings of today. To ask what I need to learn in the here and now and not just beg to leave this moment for something I think is going to be better. Will pray for you guys in this new awkward stage.

  3. I totally hear ya. It hurts terribly at some moments. But you have great insights here, and I'm glad you were encouraged by a great day! It won't always hurt this badly...thought it may hurt a bit for a long time. You left part of yourself behind, and you don't feel whole. As evidenced by the comments (mine included!), you aren't alone in feeling this way. Keep looking for the joy like you did yesterday - it will serve as a balm in the harder times. Love and prayers - K

  4. Beautifully written, Corrie. Thanks so much for this. I miss you!

  5. I agree with Rachel. This is your best post ever, and possibly one of anybody's best posts ever. What insights ye have me dear, for such a young'un.

  6. This was a great post. I find myself thinking the same way often, "This is just a season, an in-between, a stage", and then I succumb to counting the weeks until we planned for it to be over. Then it ends, and those are the only memories I have of that season. Thank you for the great reminder to relish every moment, no matter where life has us.

  7. Kate - I am so looking forward to seeing you!

    Rachel - we appreciate your prayers! Thanks so much for the encouragement :)

    Kristin - Thanks for taking the time to stay connected.. I'm so thankful for you :)

    Joy - I miss you too!

    Brenda - Thanks.. I love seeing comments from you :)

    Angela - Hope you guys are well! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  8. With insight like this you will do fine. GOD always provides in ways we never think.of. weve been in 7 States and I think 18 homes and He has blessed and had me grow in ways I never expexted! But all the good and rough have been blessings

  9. Hello my beautiful friend. This is really encouraging to me. I can start to imagine how difficult this move is for you...there might be some changes up ahead for me as well. I'm in the middle of decision making and to be honest, the thought of leaving the home I've made in Germany is terrifying. Wishing you all joy and peace and comfort in this new year. Much love, Alyssa

  10. Corrie, I started an "It will all be okay" email to send you about 6 weeks ago that never was finished. But, your wisdom, perspecitve and faith in this post are better than what I could have written you :) I can remember you so well from your first days in St. Andrews and can't help but smile and tear up when I think of the ways you've developed and grown in these last 4 1/2 years. You're a beautiful woman, dear friend. Welcome to your next life chapter. Love you! Holly

  11. Kim, you are a testimony to God's faithfulness in a life full of moving! I can't say that I hope we move so many times, but if every experience was as fruitful as our last, it might be tempting :)

    Alyssa! I know how you feel. Our decision was totally unplanned (as in, we weren't expecting to move at this point in the year) and the unknown is very hard to live with. I guess that's the price you pay for not knowing the future! I'll look forward to hearing what works out for you :) Love you.

    Holly, that is so sweet. I am so thankful for you and your friendship. Much of that growth wouldn't have happened without it! Love you too.

  12. Corrie, It is so hard to take the next step and begin a new chapter. It takes courage and faith and a pinch of adventure too.. The Lord does something special in the lives of those that have walked those cobblestone streets of St. Andrews. I'm sure it will be a season in your life that you will forever treasure. Peace for the new road ahead! Lots of love from costa rica!!

  13. I could have written this post! Well, actually, not nearly so elegantly. What I mean is, I've felt all those thoughts and emotions in the very recent past (including the daily trip to Tesco in my mind's eye). It does get easier, of course. But I hate to break it to you, in other ways it gets harder. At least that's been my experience. But you are right that there is blessing in it that is invaluable. Lots of love to all 4 of you.