We’ve moved enough in our married life to know that following any big move or transition comes the reality of that newness no longer being, well, new.
It’s a whole different ball game doing it with a kindergartener and 2nd grader.
The entire 2nd grade put on a “wax museum” where each student dressed the part and verbally shared about their American role. Harriet Tubman and Amelia Earhart, George Washington and Thomas Edison were among the group. Parents and siblings were invited during the morning and each student bravely shared a few facts about themselves when the person in front of them turned over a tiny red cup.
I watched Tanner, his face blushed, his posture frozen as if he were really a wax sculpture. I noticed how he focused on his “script,” barely smiling. I saw him look each new student and parent and little brother or sister in the eye as he assumed the role of Thomas Edison.
After the museum hour, I walked out of his classroom and two thoughts crossed.
First, Tanner is my hero. He is brave for jumping into a new class toward the end of the year (he had no choice; his dang parents had a mid-life awakening) and sharing in front of unfamiliar peers and parents.
And secondly, when I put myself in his shoes, when I wander down the long corridor, descend stairs and exit the large brick school, I felt like a 2nd grader. I missed our neighborhood beach school and the familiarity of faces and teachers we’ve come to know and love. I missed Lynn in the front office and our boys’ friends parents.
Leaving their school, I felt like a second grade kid walking home alone. And I allowed the tears to fall.
Because there’s always that day when the routine, the new normal sets in and we start to miss the comforts of what’s comfortable. And today was that day.
That was familiar and this is not.
Walking the path, I asked God if he would meet our family in the tender parts, in the familiar ways only He knows of and meets us so personally in.
And wouldn’t you know it, hours later, I bravely reached out to our neighbor and asked if she could give me a ride to mail a package at the post office and she kindly agreed. As we drove she shared her story. A story of feeling stirred to the very area we both live in and then she said, “I hope you see how proud God is of your family by the people he is bringing your way. We were here almost a year before anyone stopped by.”
She’s right. Our home has already been frequented and filled with neighbors, and new and old friends. There is a familiarity in the people we meet and the faces we interact with.
And then at the park, a little girl, clearly learning to walk, sported a CALIFORNIA lettered shirt and her mom and I connected. They moved from Palm Springs less than a year ago and suddenly we’re laughing over vintage doors and champagne and right in that moment it was if God whispered, “See? There are glimpses of home around every corner. Now be home to someone new today.”
Minutes later a car pulled out and a little boy yelled, “Tanner.” A buddy from his class; the same one Tanner told me ‘played basketball with him.’
They scampered off into the field and climbed trees for the next hour.
Grace and space.
Grace and space because maybe you’re like our family and feeling unsure of how to go about this new path. You’re lacking answers, the discomfort level high. Perhaps you desperately want to know you didn’t make the wrong decision when newness fades and you’re left with the dull ache of ‘I used to know how to do this.’
Grace and space, friends.
We are giving ourselves grace to slowly allow the transition to shake hands with reality. Grace to find a church and find heart friends and get used to which street leads to what store. Grace to not have it all dialed in. Grace to not feel ashamed when a new town is jaded by memories of our old one. Grace to overcome embarrassment for not understanding all the pieces and how they are supposed to fit together.
And space. Space to grow and learn and ask questions. Space to be curious and confident, even if we thought a job or relationship or idea would pan out and time is taking longer than is comfortable. Space to not have all the packaged responses or ability to confidently say, “Everything is fabulous. Every moment.” Nuh-uh. Just ain’t true.
Grace and space.
Grace and space if you’re getting adjusted or trying out a new workout regimen. Grace and space if life feels funky or maybe your parenting or marriage feels off kilter.
Grace and space if you find yourself in the same spot I did earlier, feeling like a 2nd grader when you know you are actually a full-blown adult.
Grace and space.
To not forget who you are when life feels shaky.
To remember discomfort is an invitation for faith dependency.
Grace and space to breathe and pay attention and trust that maybe something bigger than you is at work.
Grace and space to understand that grace and space is the actual gift.