I’ve known for awhile now that writing is how I process, how I figure out what I’m feeling and thinking. Sometimes, when I am not totally ready to deal with something, I avoid writing about it. But, when I won’t write about THE BIG THING, I find it almost impossible to write about anything else. It’s like a self-imposed writer’s block.
I think, “I want to write,” but don’t, and chalk it up to being busy, needing to focus, having no time. Let’s call all that what it is: an excuse.
I haven’t been writing because I haven’t been ready to fully embrace what’s ahead for us.
I’m learning that it’s downright bad for me to do this. (I’m a little slow on the uptake, sometimes.)
It’s time to write about Grand Rapids.
A few months ago, Evan’s professor started pushing him to consider completing his PhD by the spring or summer, rather than a full year or two from now as we had planned for. It seemed like a long shot, but Evan started looking for jobs anyway. At the beginning of the year, he found a job posting that seemed appealing: a primary investigator with the career path Evan hoped for and research he found fascinating. He applied. He heard back almost immediately, completed a series of phone interviews, and towards the end of January, flew up for a face-to-face interview. He spent two days meeting with over 12 faculty members, including some of the biggest names in this field he hopes to break into.
They offered him the job before he left that day.
Before he left for the interview, we knew that if offered the job, he would take it. It was too good an opportunity to pass up. So, in the course of a month, we discovered that we’d be uprooting our lives from Orlando, Florida to Grand Rapids, Michigan.
When people ask me how I’m feeling about this, I usually just talk about the weather, because beyond that, I’m not really sure how I’m feeling. I am feeling a lot of things.
I am excited for Evan, because this is a phenomenal opportunity.
I am proud of him. He has been studying and researching at UCF for almost ten years, and to complete a PhD is a big flipping deal. He deserves this.
I am eager to explore Grand Rapids more. The city is full of local restaurants, awesome coffee shops, microbreweries, and neighborhoods with character. Everywhere you go, you hear “local first,” and I love that. It seems like a city we will be well-suited to.
I am happy to wear scarves and boots with good reason.
I am heartbroken to leave my job.
I am confused about why God would give me the position I had hoped for for so long, only to take it away a few short months later.
I am excited to have an extra 40 hours (or, let’s be honest, 50 or 60 hours…) a week to spend with Ian and on other passions.
I am afraid I will be bored as a stay-at-home mom.
I am all over the place.
I love the life we’ve built in Orlando. We have a community of friends we can trust and rely on; they know us and accept us and care for us well. We have a church in which we serve, where we’ve used our gifts and learned truth and served our community. We have a home that’s cozy and comfortable and feels like our own. Recently, someone asked me to imagine what Ian’s life might look like in light of his faith, and truthfully, a lot of what I imagined for Ian is just what our life looks like now.
Because of all that, leaving feels like a very great loss. Is it right to mourn a city? To mourn a period of time? To mourn something I haven’t even lost yet?
At the same time, I am resolutely certain that Grand Rapids is our next right step. I haven’t doubted it for a moment. Evan has worked hard, he deserves this, and by God’s grace, I will love him well through to process. I also feel the gentle, quiet nudge of Jesus saying, “Time to get of your comfort zone, friend. Time to lean into me.”
I opened up a book today, totally unrelated to any of this, and read this in the very first paragraph: “On this journey I have been regularly accompanied by disappointment and hope, two companions that have worked together to push me onward.”
Yes, I am disappointed to leave my job and leave our home here, but it’s taken me a few weeks to realize that’s ok. It means our life here is full and good. Maybe the mourning is, in and of itself, a manner of rejoicing & thanksgiving. Perhaps if I wasn’t sad, it would mean I didn’t sufficiently appreciate these gifts. At the same time, I have so much hope for what our life in Grand Rapids might be.
Hope and disappointment are not opposites, and they are not contradictory. They can both exist, together, helping me rejoice, give thanks, and move on.
Even if moving on means loading up a U-Haul and heading way, way, way north.
Grand Rapids, here we come.