That’s how long we’ve been gone. I wish I could say it’s been fun and easy. It hasn’t, always. I wish I could say that I LOVE it here. I don’t. I don’t dislike it, but it’s not ‘home’ yet. We’ve had some great visits:
In February, this crew came to visit when they were at Disneyland. We checked out the Aquarium of the Pacific with them.
And in June, these 4 goofballs played together for 3 days, while their mom and I enjoyed spending time together for the first time in way too long.
July brought my nephew on a quick stop-over between baseball camp in Palo Alto and a tournament in Atlanta. We’re excited with Sam to see where he ends up playing next!
We also had visits from others—my brother in law, a friend from Indiana, a family from church at home, and one of our girls. But I spent more time enjoying their visits than getting pictures, it seems.
Two lessons in the last 6 months really stand out. Some new friends at the church we’re attending have done many temporary assignments over the years, often overseas. They shared that the first 6 months are always the hardest. You spend the first month simply trying to get things put away, learn where to shop, and basically getting settled in. It’s hard work, but it’s mostly physical and exhausting. Months 2-5 are harder in many ways. The loneliness and frustration set it. You don’t fit anywhere. You don’t necessarily have friends yet. You miss home terribly, but can’t go back. Basically, it just plain old sucks. By the time you get to 6 months, things start to feel more normal. Comfortable, even. And yesterday was 6 months here for us. Do I feel comfortable? Sure. Is it home? Not yet, but it’s definitely more ‘okay’ than it was! We’re no longer the newest people at church. We’ve been involved in a few things there and are starting to feel like we fit in. We have been invited to teach an adult Sunday School class this fall, which is equal parts exciting and terrifying.
The other lesson came from a dear friend when we were in Seattle last month. She used words I hadn’t considered: grief. loss. mourning. As she spoke them, I could recognize them in my life. As we talked, she gave me a second gift. She simply listened. She didn’t remind me that I should feel fortunate to be living near the beach. (I do, usually.) She didn’t tell me that everything would be fine. (I know that, most of the time.) She didn’t say that I needed to ‘man up’ because it wasn’t that bad. (I know that too) She didn’t try to top my stories with her own. She just listened. She heard me, and she still loves me. She identified with great accuracy my mental state, and assured me of the only thing she could: through all this, God is growing us and maturing us, and He had not left us.
In the last 6 months, the still, small voice during devotions and prayer would ask: “Am I enough?” “Do you trust Me?” In my head, the answer to both is always yes, but over the last 6 months, my heart has not been in the same place. I am excited to see what happens now, as my heart has (mostly) caught up with my head! Those questions no longer bring me to tears. Instead, they bring joy and anticipation as I look forward to what God will do next in my life.
Even if this isn’t home yet, it’s a much better place than it was! And I’ll happily take that.
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere… Ps 84:10