for a whole week. A week. Leaving town for a week. Just me. Not the whole family. Me. Going to go to two different conferences where I plan to use my brain to its fullest, soaking up religious studies and American church history goodies. And I will not cook. And I will not clean. And . . . who are we kidding? this is the real difference: I will not feel guilty for not cooking and cleaning. I will also spend a weekend on my own, with no conferences to attend, simply a dear friend to lunch with and other dear friends to dine with. And I will be staying across the street from one of the bestest theological libraries in the universe. ::happy happy sigh::
So, this seems to be a good time to talk some about what I’m going to be doing next in my life, now that we’re over the whole colon cancer thing and Ry is fully engaged in his Army National Guard thing.
We are anticipating Ry’s going on an extended journey sometime in the near-ish future. So, what seemed like a good way to pass the time? I’m going to go back to school. In September, I’ll be packing up my children and (hopefully) half of the things we currently own–having thrown out/sold/or stored the other half–and moving to my seminary alma mater. I will be pursuing a Th.M. (master of theology), which is a one-year program, while my kids are all spending their days being tended by the state in public school.
It’s a bit of a crazy adventure. I’m looking forward to seeing if my brain is still functional, and if I’m capable of writing in a way other than rambly and conversationally and stream-of-consciousness-ly. I’ll be working in the Church History department, primarily, including a focus on missions, ecumenics, and history of religions. Readin’ and writin’ and talkin’ fancy ideas by day; cooking, cleaning, feeding, bathing, tending, homeworking (my own and others’), loving by morning, night and weekends.
My kids are mostly excited. A little anxious, of course. But mostly excited to go somewhere new. Well. Somewhere kind of new. To be more specific, in keeping with the varied personalities of the 5.5-foot and under crowd in this house, each one feels a different sort of excited. Isaac is super excited to be going somewhere new and different, on a whole new adventure. Hannah is excited to be moving somewhere old and familiar–not that far from our old house, nice and near two sets of beloved friends-family, and close enough to our old church that we will be jumping right into the community of faith there. Ruth? Well . . . Given that Ruth still talks about anything in the past as having happened “yesterday” and anything in the future as “tomorrow,” I’m not sure what sort of grasp she has on the whole thing. She’s sad to be leaving her bestie, though. And I’m sad for her to have to leave her, too. Because she really has gained her bestest and sweetest friend this year in pre-K.
I’m excited to be moving near our friends-families, too. And I’m excited to use my brain. And I’m praying God will use these months to help me sort out what it is I’ll be doing next.
“What’s that?” you say. You don’t know what you’ll be doing next?”
Why, no, I say. I have no real idea.
“Well, what are you going to do with this Th.M.?”
I don’t know.
“Well, why are you getting it?”
I don’t know.
Well, it seems that God is once again telling Ry and Lee to pack up and move out, with no clear vision for what will come next. We’re feeling a bit Abrahamic at the moment. Packing up, leaving Ur, knowing we’re promised something really good “out there,” knowing that God has something specific in mind, but not knowing what exactly it will look like. In keeping with the way God has spoken to us throughout our time together, God has us on a “need to know” status, leading us one step at a time. And we’re following him. One step at a time. And, right now, the first step is move from this town we love, from 1/3 of a mile from the sister I love, from the school district and friends we love, to school for me. And so we’re going.
Over these three years of being in the stirrings zone, of feeling an unsettling, of knowing some changes were coming, God has been kindly and gently preparing us for this next step. He has gently, step by step, moved us from feeling content where we are, convinced we’d be staying forever, to where we are now: standing on the edge of what comes next. It’s not all been easy, it’s not all been completely neat and tidy. But it has been slow and gentle. Bit by bit over the course of the past two years, things have been broken down–like a camp being broken down, piece by piece, folded up, put away, until now I feel like I’m looking over the blank campsite. With just our tent–our house–left to pack up and move on to the next encampment.
I was talking to Ryan about it several weeks ago. Saying, “Really? This is our life? Just crazy? not knowing where we’re going to be in 6 months’ time? just moving from here to there?” And he said, “Yeah. Haven’t you ever read Genesis? I think that’s just how it goes.” And it landed right for me. It landed right. We’re nomads. We’re being called to go places before we even know where those places are. To move from place to place, serving God in each new place, in each new way he’s set before us. And that’s not without precedent.