“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
– Zora Neale Hurston *
David and I have been asking questions for years about our life, our values, our purpose our calling. And those questions have surfaced very little answers – though we have attempted many paths that lead us back again to the same place…back to the questions themselves.
But this year is different. It’s not a year for questions but a year for answers. Because I’ve been looking for these answers for so many years, I found myself quick to jump on board with the change and all that comes along with moving a family cross-country.
We are moving from Minneapolis, MN, to Chattanooga, TN.
This path began to unfold when we were digging around in the dirt of our very small city garden that’s tucked next to our 1929 Tudor home in Minneapolis. We were weeding our vegetables, finally feeling settled in our life – our kids were in a good school, we were both loving our jobs. But something wasn’t feeling quite right to me, and I was nervous to say something.
I did not want to disrupt the goodness of the life that we had worked so hard to build. But something just didn’t feel right – even though I felt like it SHOULD feel right.
With my eyes on the dirt in front of me, and my hands full of weeds, I mentioned to David I was feeling unsettled – ironically – and that I wondered if something was stirring and we were supposed to move. Maybe not today or tomorrow…but maybe this magical 1929 Tudor was not our forever home.
I held my breath because saying this out loud took a lot of courage. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful for the life we built together. And I didn’t want to disrupt the idyllic rhythm of life by mentioning disorder if there was nothing to it. Maybe I just needed a weekend away and a stiff drink. Or maybe…there was something to this feeling.
David’s response was immediate and so strong – he agreed that we should consider something…and that our desire to live by family might become realized.
We finished our conversation and our evening gardening and let it all lay freshly pruned. We walked away from that night with something new beginning to grow. We didn’t have any answers right away, but we started asking bold questions.
Questions about our values.
Questions about who we are, what we contribute to the world.
And most importantly, if we got really quiet, we wanted to know what our lives were speaking to us about who we are – not what we wanted to impose on our one, wild and precious life.
The journey over the next year was not straightforward. We did not make a plan and put it into action. But we started having conversations with our people – about this unsettling, about what “home” means, about family values, about the fact that life is too short and maybe we need to listen to this voice inside.
So we did. And little by little, we took steps in directions we thought we should go – where we felt our hearts were leading. Mostly those steps didn’t lead anywhere, but then one day they did.
And that day was the right day. A path opened, and we took the steps down that road.
Well, you may be asking: what will the next season look like for us?
We are choosing proximity to family after living away from any family for about five years.
Neither of us will be employed by a church. Which means a lot – for the first time, we will not be in “full-time ministry” (as they say in the biz), we will be able to choose our church instead of working for one and the job choosing the community and the weekend rhythm, we will be able to choose not to go to church (or to just show up late like everyone else). This is very new to us…I’m sure this in itself will surface a lot of stories worth sharing!
We are moving from city life to the country.
We have temporary housing, but the next, permanent step is unknown. We have a million dreams and ideas; nothing is in motion. We are okay with that.
I started a job as a managing editor at a marketing content company and I am over-the-moon excited about those people and that place and the work I will get to do. I will also add a commute to my day. So…call me? Or send me your best audio book recommendations.
David will work with his brother in remodeling and construction.
Are we excited? Yes.
Are we overwhelmed? Yes.
Do we feel incredibly certain and incredibly terrified? Yes.
But it feels right. It doesn’t feel easy and saying goodbye to our life and people in Minneapolis will be hard. We hoped for years that we could move back to Michigan, but we are not, and that also feels hard. Packing is hard. But we are hopeful for what is next.
It feels right and it feels hard. The richest things come from hardship. I firmly believe that a new life in Tennessee is growing from rich soil that we tilled up last year while pulling weeds in our urban garden in Minneapolis. We are taking a chance and watering that soil to see what grows up in this place.
Time, patience and hard work will bring a harvest in its time.
And I know there will be some good stories along the way.
*(from my favorite novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. I read it almost every year…I even named my first born after the author. Want to read a story of finding yourself and finding – and losing – love and telling a compelling story with the most gorgeous language? Read this book immediately.)