I have that feeling.. The one where I know something is missing. Things don’t feel right. It’s hard to describe. Uneasy. Gnawing. Ever-present in stillness.
It’s not something I’ve missed - experiencing this; knowing that there is little to be had that will feel familiar. That daily life will not include recognized faces, predictability, organization. There are things to remember, things to figure out, paperwork to attend.
There will be a string of little victories, brave steps taken, attempts made. There will be disappointments, fears, insecurities, and outright failures.
What is it that gnaws when I am sitting still?
The knowledge that things are different. Is that all it is?
Taking on a new city, a new way of life seems to be a different animal with children in tow. My chances to explore or lessened, my concern for safety is heightened, my ability to connect is limited.
And yet, I find myself excited by little things. Like knowing the library is just a meander down the way. Like experiencing a worship service with people who seem genuine and kind, who give grace to my stretched children and whose gnawing is long gone. Like being reminded this morning that no matter how long our stay, investing is always worth it.
I have been in this position before; the one where our tenure in this particular place may be short. Maybe less than a year. I know the battles of ‘Is it worth it?’ and ‘Does it even matter?’ It takes so long to learn to live somewhere, to know where the heck you are trying to go, what is the point of even leaving the house? Why would I ever spend time knowing someone who will just be pulled from my grasp in a few short months?
I’ll tell you why. Because it is worth it. No matter what my laziness, my selfishness, my fear will tell me. No matter how my homebody tries to pull me back. I know the truth, and that is this: Life is for living. It is not for whittling away on my second-hand couch while experiences wait just outside that door.
Already I am being pushed to do the things I love to do, like find women to befriend, host people in our home, take my children out and about, and I am finding it so easy to make excuses. I’m nervous.. they might not like me.. our house isn’t ‘together’ enough.. I don’t know where I’m going, what is safe, what is not. I’m feeling the urges to create, to express, to do, and to make beautiful and I can feel the resistance.. my supplies are limited.. I don’t know what people will think.. I don’t have any glue.
I am so easily paralyzed. It can be large, it can be small, it doesn’t take much.
If there is one thing I don’t want to do, it is miss out.
I am taking baby steps. A small collage to replace an old photo. A pool party to meet a few people. A chicken pot pie in the freezer to invite someone over for lunch on Sunday. Step, step, step.
In the last few days we have meandered in the early evenings. I find myself continually thinking.. ‘Whoa.. this is, like, a REAL city!’ There are so many places to go, so many things to see and do, and so many kind people wandering around. Of course there are awkward moments - like when it takes me 20 minutes to find the handicap entrance to the library so I can go in with the buggy, only to see that it is the most jankety little lift thing that I kind of never want to use again. I am almost tempted to swear off the library.. almost. Not to mention how on my first venture out with the kids on my own, not five minutes down the road I was confronted by a man who really wanted me to buy him a hotdog. I did, of course. I bought him two.. and a giant fountain coke. :) Which oddly led to me getting to know the gas station clerk more than I might have otherwise. But it just solidified the fact that we are not in Kansas anymore. This isn’t rural Indiana.. it’s not quaint, little St Andrews. It’s more like all the other big cities that we’ve visited, but never lived in. Another learning curve to mount.
But I am so energized and excited by the possibilities. The number of stores and restaurants just in our little area is unbelievable compared to what we are used to. I actually really like watching traffic on the freeway outside our living room window. I love that everyday I am greeted with a sun that is just getting warmed up. And, I am ready to make plans to explore even further.. We’ve got a whole coast to cover and only a year to do it! :)
A little more than a week in, and I am still full of thankfulness.