Not too long ago, life was busy and full and good, and I decided nobody needed to hear the ramblings of my heart, so I changed this from my personal blog to a "home improvement and gardening" blog. I told myself I was narrowing the scope, focusing on my target readers, simplifying. There really wasn't time for pouring out my heart, what with the patter of little feet in the unfinished house and each week filled to the brim with time spent sharing food and time with friends. It was easy to feel the love of Father God then, tangibly. But things are different today, and I must air the thoughts that churn in my heart.
I guess this isn't purely a home and garden blog anymore.
My husband was made an offer at a company back in NC, where he would be appreciated and respected as never before by an employer. I didn't want to go. I knew immediately, long before the offer was made, that things were about to change, but how do you say no to your spouse getting the offer of a lifetime? You can't, not for the promise of the familiar. Things change whether you stay or go. I dreaded the change. I clung to spaces while friends carried on nearby, in the foyer at church or a friend's kitchen, unable to process that I might never stand there again. I measured faces in my gaze, and little hands in mine, and my ears memorized sweet voices and laughter. We said so many goodbyes. I'm not good at holding back now. I tried to be mysterious and immeasurable when I was younger, but once you are known and loved as you are, it's hard to go back to keeping safe spaces in between. Those spaces are cold and empty. You must tell people how you feel about them. You must say "I love you" and "you're a faithful friend" out loud, and you must say it now, while you can.
So we moved. And now we've been here for four months, in the town where I mostly grew up, and everything has changed. Life goes on, but I feel like I'm on a raft, floating out to sea, and no ships will take me in. My husband has his work relationships, but I have only the chaos of children at home. We did the math, realizing we found our community in Texas a little more than 4 months after moving there. I know it's not been long and we could find our new community any day now, but couldn't we also not? We've visited churches (and I hate visiting churches, especially dragging the kids to a new children's church every week), but no one here does what we were so used to - sharing life together. People here are mountain folk - they are good at being self-sufficient (or at least that might be one factor). But we are used to being needy and sharing everything. Greeting someone at church on Sunday is not sharing life with them, as friendly and genuine as the greeting might be.
Sharing life is taking a woman's small children for a couple of hours so she can go to the doctor. It's helping them move into a new house, and making sure their bed is made so they have a place to sleep the first night. It's sending a care package with your husband on his lunch break because someone's got a fever and 4 kids to care for. It's taking a walk on their street and being invited in for an impromptu visit. It's loving their kids and their parents as much as you love them. It's sharing food with them a couple of times a week. It's getting boxes of produce and plants and baby clothes and homemade gifts at church for no particular reason. It's being cared for, no matter what.
There are no stay at home moms just a couple of minutes away here that I know. There are no home groups open to families with small children at church. There is an aching in my heart that feels keenly the absence of a love that amounted to more than just the individuals and our interactions.
But, thankfully, there is still Jesus, his creation, and his church. There are family members my children get to see often now, and there is free babysitting (hallelujah). There are just a couple of friends from my youth who are here and (thank God) still like me, and long-time friends a few hours away that always feel like home. But it's so different. I have so much to give, but no place to put roots. Here's hoping those who sow in tears will reap with joy this side of Heaven.
I just want to belong.