Almost There Book, Faith

For Now Not Forever

June 28, 2017

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

We have been searching for home for a while now. That’s not to say that we haven’t found it anywhere, just that this craving for settledness has followed us to every location we have found ourselves.

For nearly a decade we had dreamed about the ability to choose where we live. Mike and I would talk about moving back to Colorado and spontaneously dropping by for dinner at our parents’ house, just because we could, just because we lived nearby, just because we were hungry and there was nothing in our fridge.

For years we dreamed, accepting military orders to different places while wondering what it would be like to come back home.

And then finally we moved back. In some ways, we did it kicking and screaming, lamenting the life we were leaving behind. In other ways, we looped back smooth as boomerangs, believing the strain of the decision was the same curvature pulling us back towards the place we belong.

It was a blessing to move home. It was a sacrifice to move home. The two tend to commingle, don’t they?

//

Here in Colorado, there is rain in the summer afternoons. People drive unhurriedly… in the left passing lane. Molly says about every large hill we pass, “Daddy, I want to climb that mountain with you.” She says this about large hills but not of mountains with tall, pointed peaks, “Because if I sit down at the top, it will hurt my bottom.”

In Colorado, like in every other place, we are both at home and unsettled. This search for home follows us everywhere. It is the pursuit of our lives.

Yet in this stretch of the pursuit, we now carry the burden of choice. We are responsible for our next move, accountable for our own intentions. The expanse of freedom that we once longed for now intimidates us in its enormity.

After carrying around deferred hopes for so long, from one set of orders to the next, the present challenge is knowing how to sort through them and ask, “Do I still care about these things?”

And to the ones I do, there is the harder question: “Where do I begin?”

//

Last week Mike accepted a job. This week we began the process to buy a house.

We are becoming adults right here before your eyes.

Beyond the need for Mike to urgently assemble a business casual wardrobe, the more pressing need has been selecting a house to buy.

Purchasing a house in my imagination has always been a stress-free thrill. I simply move to Waco, Texas and become a client-turned-best-friend of Joanna Gaines.  But in real life, purchasing a home is about as fun as doing a trust fall off a cliff. Exhilarating, perhaps, but only enjoyable for those who love to take on lifelong debt with the flip of the hair and flick of the pen.

“How wonderful!” several of our friends have said about us buying a home, “You can now buy your forever home!!”

To this, I smile politely while gasping thin mountain air through flared nostrils.

Our forever home?

I mean, it’s hard enough to choose a home that will work for us for the next few years, let alone one that will fit like a glove until the end of time.

Even if we did have the purview to select the last house we will ever buy, Mike and I (at the tender ages of thirty-one and thirty, respectively) are not exactly in the financial situation to buy the singular house that will make all of our dreams true.

I mean, I want recessed lighting and crown molding in every room. He wants a garage that functions solely as a CrossFit emporium. We both are facing compromises.

Because here’s the thing: we are just beginning. For the first time we’re learning the taste and flavor of our own prerogative, of settling rather than uprooting, of choosing a new way of life.

And if every choice has to line up with an outcome we will forever be satisfied with, how can one ever grasp the courage to choose?

//

Beginnings have a way of forcing us to aim smaller, to allow ourselves “good for now” and “I think so” decisions. In those moments, we pray for wisdom, ask for clarity, and beg God to protect us from a house riddled with hidden termite damage.

I have found that to begin I must unburden myself from the pressure to acquire perfect taste and long term clairvoyance. There is no need to pin down an unchanging picture for the rest of my life, nor find a home or job to match it right this instant.  Every material thing around us is impermanent, so why do we treat it as though it’s not? Why do we think forward planning can save us from the tide of change?

In our case, Mike is choosing a job that is a good job… for now. Maybe it is a lifelong job. Maybe it isn’t. But for today, it is a beginning that we are claiming as right and good.

We are choosing a house. It is a good house. It is a place to begin as adults in a hometown we mostly remember as adolescents. It is a plot in the ground, proof of our life being rooted here, first by choice and then by fruit.

And finally, I’m trying to remove the word “forever” from all associations apart from Christ. He is permanent when all else is not, interpreting for us what to do with all these bits of temporary. So trusting God might begin with taking one gigantic step of faith, but I’m finding that it’s followed by taking a million more small ones, trusting that each one is good, even if you’re not sure it’s perfect.

It is incredibly liberating to remember that this moment is small and passing. And all you have to do with it is the best you can.

Only God can make plans for forever. We choose to trust him by making choices for now.


Pre-Order my book Almost There

Almost There is for those on the move and those who feel restless right where they are. It’s for those who struggle with not belonging, with feeling unsettled, with believing that home is out of their reach, at least for the moment. And Almost There is for those who find themselves in a transient lifestyle they didn’t expect―say, moving across the country for a new job or the military or an opportunity to begin again.

With imaginative storytelling and witty, relatable prose, Bekah DiFelice offers wisdom for those struggling to belong in a world where home is constantly shifting. When our hope of home is rooted in an unchangeable God, we are not uprooted, lost, or made homeless by change. We become found ones on the move.

Lifestyle

The Old People’s Neighborhood

June 21, 2017

The house we’re staying in is situated in a neighborhood full of old people. I say this with great affection, not condescension, because I’m convinced these people are the most wonderful neighbors in the world.

In my time here, I’ve observed that residents in this neighborhood are the sort who walk their dogs three to seven times daily, mostly golden retrievers, overweight bulldogs, and meticulously groomed poodles.

They often water their lawns by hand at dusk, moments after their automatic sprinkler systems have turned off. You just can’t be too sure, you know? And if you want something done right, you better do it yourself.

On national holidays, most neighbors pay for the boy scouts to anchor huge American flags in the center of their lush, green lawns. It looks like a parade of patriotism down the street, star spangled banners waving in the wind beside driveways occupied with large SUVs. It would seem that not only are these neighbors exceptional stewards of their landscaping, they also love America very, very much.

//

I have been waved at by many of them, as waving seems to be the neighborhood passion and talent. When I walk out to the mailbox with my mom or load a child into the car, several white-haired retirees are usually around to pursue meaningful eye contact with me, paired with a sincere smile and heartfelt wave. It is truly wonderful, as if I get a welcoming committee each time I go outside. I think Molly assumes she has acquired a dozen or so new grandparents.

Occasionally, I’ve been waved at with the sternness of a disconcerted parent. This only happens while I’m driving. Concerned citizens wave their hands up and down and mouth the words “SLOW DOWN!!”… as I drive past at a raging speed of 19mph in a 25mph zone.

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