Sunday, January 3, 2010

Packing boxes

I am sitting amid the inevitable. The empty boxes are staring at me in anticipation of being filled and the decorations are staring at me in disappointment that it is time to go. Oh the agony of being the one in the middle. I so enjoy the decorated house, the decorated tree, the lights. So much festivity emanates from these rooms. I love living in the exciting times. The purposeful times where the expectations are known. The traditions are set, everyone knows what to do. I like that. It feels ordered.

But the majority of life is not lived that way. It is lived in the "in between" moments, in the stripped down moments.

My husband announced in September that he no longer wanted to be a minister. That he wanted to "step down". This announcement really came as no surprise to me. I knew he was unhappy and I knew he wanted to do more. He struggled for a couple of years trying to discern what part of the job was causing the unrest, thinking a new job would cure it. But I knew in my heart that the answer was not in a new church, a new place, but a new career. He became ultimately clear about that in the fall, and left right before Thanksgiving.

Up to that time his life must have somewhat felt like Christmas all the time. Responsibilities, known expectations, and unknown, traditions to keep, places to go, people excited/upset, order of a sort. Then he sat amid the boxes. What next? You see, my brave husband resigned with no plan. Some say this is insane. Many in the church couldn't understand how he could leave with no idea of the future. This is not like my husband, he is our sole breadwinner, and he takes that job very seriously. But you see, it was the right thing to do. The church was at a crossroads, and he saw that. He saw that he couldn't really take a year to figure out what he was going to do while they suffered huge staff cuts. So he did the right thing and left now. Of course, this is like my husband. He acts. Once he has figured something out in his mind, he goes for it. There is no second guessing. There are no regrets. I admire that about him.

But back to the boxes. So he packs up his "old life", and along the way catches glimpses of what the "new life" could look like. Then Christmas came and our life was decorated and busy. It was easy to not think about the future as we went about the many plans and activities of the season. It was exhilarating to have him present for so many things that he had not been available for in the past. We planned the holidays together, and we executed them together. It was exciting. But now it is time to pack up the boxes. Now it is time to go back to the "real world".

The questions now start to sound louder. "When will you know if this will work out?" "When will you actually start bringing in money?" "What will we do if this doesn't work out?" Our money running out deadline seems so much closer now than it did back in November. "Will we be okay?"

Instead of panic running underneath these questions, there is still peace. I feel confident that he will find something. I feel confident we will make it. I know this why? Because one of the advantages of being an adult is the lifetime of experiences to look back over. We have made it through many events that others would not and have not made it through. God has been there with us in the dark days. God has been there with us in the light days. And God will be with us in the future. Plus, we have each other.

So, as I pack the boxes here in a bit, these are the thoughts going through my mind. What faces you when you finish packing up the holiday boxes? What "real life" events are coming your way? How will you face them?

I pray it is with the confidence that you are not alone. May it be so.

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