In March 2012, in the midst of dark, dreary hard work and apparent infertility, I drew a picture. In this picture, Husband and I walked along the river bank of the city in which we now live; pushing a pram and chatting to my parents, who are local to it. Above the picture, I wrote “God this is my dream!” and underneath it, “too much to ask?!”
At the time, Husband and I were at a CPAS weekend, designed for those exploring ordination. This was eighteen months before he was selected to train, and over a year before we ‘fell pregnant’ (for want of a better term… such a ridiculous phrase for those who are sick of jumping!). I still remember how much my heart thumped when I thought of it; so much so that it still swells whenever I stand on that bridge, looking down on that same river with my two beautiful kids.
It never gets old.
Now, whilst I’d love this post to be an inspiring shareable about how nothing is too much for God; the truth is, I know too many folks still waiting on their hopes, to write anything that trite. So no; I guess this is a post about what happens when you find yourself actually living your dream; and then what happens when you realise that in twelve weeks, you’ll have to leave!
See, I remember when we first arrived here; and people braced us for the long haul.
“Three years is a long time.”
That’s what they kept on saying.
And you know, I didn’t really believe them. I mean, three years off work, at home with my kid(s), watching my husband become what he was called to be, in a stunning place, that already means the world to me?! How could that possibly feel long?! Clearly, they just didn’t share the dream… that was all.
But now, as our long time draws rapidly to a close, and we see a lot of our friends and colleagues getting to that point; I have to be honest and confess that we’ve had our moments too. Take this afternoon, for instance. Proofreading Husband’s final B.S essay (Biblical Studies… What did you think I meant?!); I’d say that was a moment. Last week; when I got to the top of the steepest hill with a double-decker pram full of Toddler and shopping, and Tinker ran to the bottom of it, so that we all had to go back down and up again… That was definitely a moment. And in September, when we returned from that curacy visit, only to be introduced to yet another short-term placement church; that was also a moment. Then last term, when Husband’s ‘free time’turned out to be a fallacy, and I couldn’t study the things I thought I wanted to, and started to question my place in the world… Well, that was a pretty dark moment too. And then in January, when I got all insecure about our patchwork friendships, and whether any of them would ever be the same once we moved further away or closer again… that was also a rip-off-the-plaster kind of moment.
So, yes; in three years, there have definitely been moments.
But, I’ll tell you what I do, whenever I have those moments.
I walk down by the river. With my kids. I say prayers of thanks and remind myself that once upon a time, in some dark pit; this was all too good to be true. Because it’s easy isn’t it; even in the midst of the lives we could only imagine, to get worn down by the bits we didn’t think of. To forget how far we’ve come, and how much God has given us. Steven Furtick talks (somewhere or other!) about creating a marker; a tangible reminder of how far God has brought us, for any time that we are tempted to forget. So, I guess, apart from the relationships, (as its a bit rude to use humans as markers!); this particular river is mine. (And it’s a fitting marker to be fair; as it’s the very same water in which I chose to be baptised, when I found faith sixteen years ago. Not a bad thing to be reminded of either!)
I’ve had a lot to do with that marker recently. As we attempt to live in the now, while preparing for the next; the passing emotions leave me unsure how to feel. I mean, dont get me wrong; I know I’m taking the best bits with me! The kids, the husband, the faith, and the freedom of a completely different future. Friends are awaiting; Curacy is calling; life is certainly interesting. It’s just that, like Disney’s Repunzel and her shortsighted dream of lanterns; I never really imagined anything real beyond this point.
And yet; here it comes.
Husband just got back from his Leavers’ Retreat and the Diocese are requesting removal quotes. We are looking at moving twelve weeks from today; and if three years is much to go by… that’s not long!
Thirteen until ordination…
That’s a trimester.
It’s long enough to bond with the idea isn’t it? Long enough to lament the end of one era, even though you’re ready and waiting for the next. Long enough to get excited… nervous… (nauseous… fat?!)
But not long enough to turn back !
Twelve short weeks to say goodbye
To the picture that I drew;
Twelve long weeks to embrace what’s left
And trace the next dream that You’re calling us to.