I’m listening to people talking about their stories recently. I don’t mean their books, although some of them have those, too. I’m talking about the stories of their lives, and how the conflict in them is what keeps them interesting and growing.
That conflict can bring growth is helpful to me now, as I feel emotionally conflicted these days. You see, I’m slowly, so slowly, digging up the roots of my life here in Berkeley and moving to Washington. Truthfully, it still feels unreal. But as boxes start to take over a part of my living room and my bookshelves look mostly empty I see a root fresh from its soil, dangling in mid-air.
In my garden you can find a plethora of wild blackberry bushes. Have you ever tried to rid yourself of them? Those roots are tenacious and it’s easier to break them then to pull them out in their entirety. Unlike with my blackberry bushes I am content to have some roots break off as we prepare to move; it means that some part of me will continue here, to gain sustenance in this place, even if I am physically somewhere else.
It’s hard to ride this roller coaster of emotions. I’ve lived in the Bay area for ten years, the longest place I’ve lived since childhood. During this time I’ve gotten married, birthed children, developed professionally, and gone through ups and downs in community. Ironically, if someone had asked me to move a few years ago I don’t think I would have wrestled with the decision nearly as much as I do now. These grounds were not easy tilling for me at times. But now this is home and family and to leave brings tears to my eyes and wrenches my heart. And yet….
And yet the boxes are filling up. And yet we look ahead with a new seed of hope planted in our hearts. Because doors have opened in ways we did not expect, ways that were not our own. There’s something so peace-giving about that for me right now. It calms even my deepest fears. As I’ve said to many, I spared no angst about finding “God’s will” for my life at the end of college and ultimately sensed that it was much more about my heart than it was about any particular path. But this time, in a rare glimpse of light, the path seems clear. So we pack bags, we shed tears, we say “until we meet again” (Spanish is so much better for this, by the way) and we leap. I like that image, because it’s an active one. I am not a passive participant here. I get to jump into a crazy unknown world, full of gray skies and evergreen trees, water, and strangers. We get to explore a new place and find its quirks and add our own to it. We’ll plant seeds. And I know that at times we’ll long for something different and wonder why we’re there. But I am convinced that we will not be alone there and that, ultimately, God will use this season to shape us into being more authentically who we want to be.