I haven't been blogging much, which makes me kind of sad because this platform is a great space for me to process what's happening around me and to preserve some memories. I feel like it's as much (perhaps even more) for myself and for us as a couple than for the world out there, the readers that be.
But I kind of hit a (blogging, personal, emotional) wall when we arrived here. I'm kind of in a funk. An in-between place.
The flutter of finding out in September John had a job stateside that would actually begin in Europe mid-October, after a fast and furious two weeks home, threw me for a bit of a loop. Of course I was excited--if you know me at all, you know I love Europe, traveling, seeing new places, etc., etc. But back in August and September, we had many long discussions in Valencia about the future, and I was feeling pretty good (surprisingly good, even) about moving back to the U.S. After all, I've spent the past ten years here, there, and everywhere it seems, packing a suitcase in Greenville and unpacking it in Ukraine, moving a carload of personal belongings up to a house on Lookout Mountain, packing up an apartment in Charlotte. You might say that change upon change (upon change) feels like it's catching up with me. I'm still young, but 28 isn't 21, and there comes a point in life when you just want to be somewhere.
In other words, I think I've come to that place where I'm longing to put down roots. In Valencia, it felt like a relief to admit that it would be nice to be known by people and know them well, really invest in a church, add a puppy to the family, and paint a house. (My 24 year old self gasps in horror and disbelief. How times have changed!) While I occasionally have thoughts that this sort of more permanent change will result in me feeling like a gerbil on a wheel, the thought of not living out of a suitcase makes me very, very happy.
And so as I came to terms with this new, more permanent change that was finally arriving in our lives, we found out we were moving to Germany for six months. We were both really excited. When we visited Munich last year we loved it so much, we decided to visit again during spring break. We joked about moving here one day.
But my suddenly pretty-reconciled-to-moving-home self suddenly was faced with another international move and more change before yet more change. God presented a detour, and I simultaneously am enjoying it as well as counting down the days until we are in a more stable place. And I find that I'm asking myself, "What is God giving me the time to do right now? How can I best use this time so that I'm prepared for the future? How will this time prepare me for what's coming next?"
And I don't know all the answers yet. I probably won't even by the time we leave. Six months isn't that long in the scheme of things, but some days it feels like a boundary to moving towards the next step in life. I dream of painting the walls in a home, but right now the only change I can impart in our living space is buying fresh flowers. I want to have a table for 10 (12?!) but right now we can only sit the two of us--and even that feels cramped.
Maybe God is being gracious in bringing me to a place where I really do feel ready to move back--not simply resigned that yes, this is what needs to happen right now. Perhaps I don't need to find answers at all, but accept that this is where He's put us. And even on the hard days where I'm longing to dig roots deep, to be watered with the joy of consistent friendships and family close by, and to just go shopping at Trader Joe's for crying out loud...even on those days, I have a table for two and fresh flowers greeting me when I walk in the door. And when it comes down to it, those two things are simple, precious gifts.
As Sara Groves says, "there are different kinds of happy," and so I'm learning how to embrace and walk in this new routine, this different kind of happy. It may not be exactly what I would choose otherwise, but there is beauty here nonetheless.