So we’re going to San Francisco, which i still can’t spell for the first three tries. Swapping KTX lines for highways and Golden Gates. (That’s Gyeongsan Station above, from a summer weekend trip to Seoul.)
We’re planning to be there for good.
I haven’t even accepted that thought into my brain. I haven’t tried to yet, I haven’t thought about it. I haven’t thought about why God is calling us to California, because I’ve learned that the kinds of answers I would want would likely not be given (questions with lots of ‘how exactly‘s and ‘what if___’s). And because we’ve been preoccupied by other things. Things like midsummer hospitalizations, and upheaval in personal relationships. Things like juice fasts, and mutant canker sores. Things like taking a lone free day and cramming it full of cuddling on our single bed and walking around our fledgling neighborhood and justifying a limited amount of junk food and talking about important things in the Word.
But then I try it on, the one-year-from-now. I test the fit and the give and the make of it, and when I do, I’m immediately overwhelmed.
Things I’ve said in passing as jokes start assuming shapes of fears, real tragedies in the mind of a scared little girl, wanting to hold on to everything she has and not wanting to let any of it go.
“My kids are gonna be Californians.” (some of my best friends on earth are from CA, it should be noted, in fairness.)
“This will be my last real winter for a while!”
“Oh, it’ll be great, unless we get shot in a gang war or the Earth crumbles into the sea beneath us.”
As glib commentary, these do pretty well. As thoughts I think to myself, alone in the apartment on a Wednesday, officially 1 year away from when our visas expire and we are ready-or-not booted out of Korea (it most likely won’t come to that)…they start to spiral and morph. Suddenly I’m ten years down the road and half of my children have beachy waves (nice!) and do nothing but smoke weed and surf all the time and also they call me ‘bruh’ which is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE I am their MOTHER. Also why do these children have weed in the kitchen. or anywhere. The other half have had plastic surgery and keep telling me they’re in ‘The industry’ and THEN then there’s an earthquake and a gang war AND–we become ‘Niners fans.
I talked to my best friend about this and she said: ‘It’s NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. They’re gonna be in Northface in 65 degree weather talking about fair trade coffee.’
I’m still joking because that’s what happens when I’m uncomfortable. ‘But I’m excited about the Move!’ I cry, truthfully. Because I am. It’s an amazing adventure and a dream fulfilled and it’s so exciting–
but parts of it are scary and uncomfortable. I’m not going to build snow forts with my kids on their Christmas break? They’ll never know the joys of a snow day or even a 2-hour delay? They won’t care about the Red Sox vs. Yankees? And forget the Hypothetical Future Pagaards: I won’t ever get to feel that magical season-shift again? Do the leaves change color and have they ever even heard of clam chowder or apple cider? (Why are all of these related to weather and food?)
How do I trust when my only frame of reference comes from The Rock and Full House?
What is the most trivial thing in the world to one is monumental to another, and for me, these silly, joke-questions are tough to swallow. Even tougher? the Other Questions that hang out in the back while the sillier ones are hogging time in the front. Questions like ‘What will we do?’ about money. About jobs. About kids. About RAISING kids. Questions like ‘When we have kids…if Nate’s pastoring, I’ll have to work full time. Am I gonna miss everything?’ ‘Will we have to live in a bad neighborhood?’
‘Are we gonna be safe?’
‘Will it be beautiful?’
I can qualify this easily enough. Of course I know that where He leads, we follow. Where we are called, we go, and we make no demands on what that going might entail. To paraphrase one of my favorite bloggers, Shannan Martin, ‘Going’ has only a very little bit to do with your geographical location, and every bit to do with people. We are and we aren’t going for us. When you follow Christ, disobedience is death: in that way, we’re going for us. We can’t stay where we are. For death can look like a long, comfortable life spent country hopping from teaching job to teaching job. Death can look like a lot of things. But so can Life. We go to find Life, and we go to share the Giver of Life.
Knowing that, and knowing that I’m being a Big Giant Baby, ought to make it easier to know that I have ZERO idea what the rest of my life is going to look like. And it does, most of the time. Which is why in general I have always avoided thinking about the future. I knew two (now three) things: I will walk with the Lord and I will always have my family. Add Nate. That’s three, and that’s got me covered.
I don’t really think through what that first item means, sometimes.
I will walk with the Lord. The going, the not knowing, are on purpose, and so will be the loss and the gain and the broken assumptions I didn’t know I made. So if that means that all three of those not-jokes are super true, then that’s the truest, most, onl-iest plan I could ever dream for my future. For my family. For ever.