Living across the country from our family was one of the hardest aspects of pastoring. We love our families and missed them every day as we pastored in Virginia, North Carolina, back to Virginia and then on to Colorado.
After landing in Phoenix with Ruby, most remember how I never went home to Colorado. After Ruby had 3 brain surgeries and was stable, Dw eventually went back to Colorado, resigned from the church we pastored and together with the kids and a couple of our friends packed up the house and brought our belongings to Phoenix. I never lived in our home again from the day I left to get Ruby. Of course now Ruby’s neurosurgeon is the best of the best and so are all the other surgeons we use for the others. That being said we are here to stay in Phoenix. No doubt that “little snow thing and freezing cold thing” is a factor too.
On a side note a couple of years ago I was remembering something from when I was a little girl. At the church I attended I remember announcements about people going to visit “shut-ins” in the winter. Being honest, I used to wonder why they were “shut in” in the winter. We didn’t hear about visiting shut-ins in the summer and I just didn’t understand. And then I had kids in wheelchairs and remembered pushing my grocery cart across the parking lots with the icy ruts and realized why people in icy/snowy regions in wheelchairs are shut-in in the winter! My heart just can’t imagine! If only I’d “rode a mile in their wheels” as a kid I would have understood so much better and joyfully went to see them!!
So for us it’s gotta be sunshine and little rain so our wheelchairs can go anywhere at any time! But that means that we are far from family and there are days when I long to be there and oh how I wish I could text myself over and have lunch with my brother Neil, his wife Mary, my mom, or my dad every couple weeks.
I know so many of you know what I mean. And while I’m talking about family and where you live, over the last year or so I have had several people mention that they are wondering about moving back to where their family is. In my personal opinion all I can say is, “Do it!!” If medical needs do not necessitate you living somewhere else, then GO!! If you have a job that can be worked anywhere, dude and dudette, what in the world are you waiting for?? Sure families can come with complications, but so can anyone. We regret deeply not moving closer to home years ago after seminary. It was very difficult to live so far.
To be perfectly honest, a couple of years ago I went through a time where I grieved for not choosing to move closer to family years earlier. Like literally grieved. Big ugly tears for weeks. I kept questioning our decisions. Dw’s dad was the dad I never had and he passed away in 2007. He was a letter writer and when we were pastoring in our first two pastorates (1992-1996) Dw’s dad was healthy and wrote us questioning every.single.week.: Won’t you please move back? During that season of his weekly letters we just didn’t consider it. And for that I deeply grieved. He would have been overjoyed to hear, “We’re coming home!”
Graham recently put in our family group text an article about spending time with the people you love. It gave visuals of how often you would see someone for the rest of your life if you lived far away and saw them for a week each year. It was eye-opening to say the least. So that might just be my little PSA (Public Service Announcement) – Don’t live with regret. If you have wondered if you should move closer to family, this is for you…learn from us!
Anyway, my dad’s side of my family has met over the years and each time my brother Neil would tell me about it and my heart would long to be there. And each year it just didn’t work. Until last Sunday! We met at my cousin Tasia and her husband Paul’s gorgeous historic home that they renovated.
Oh the joy of it all! It was my dream come true!! To know that I belong with these people – best feeling ever! Seriously, these folks are the sweetest people in the whole world, the cream-of-the-crop, loving and kind to all! It did my heart so good to spend the day with them. If it had been up to me we would have camped together for days on end!
And no, Dw is not sitting on my cousin Mark’s lap – haha!
Anyway, when we came in to say the blessing over the food, there is a song they sing..their harmonies are seriously amazing…you will love this incredible song of blessing.
And to my cousins – each and every one of you – I love you and am so grateful to be related to you. You guys are the best and I look forward to the day we can all be together again! xoxo