On Moving, Meaning, and Making Life

This is our second week in Seattle. We have new Washington driver’s licences. We went grocery shopping at the Whole Foods Market down the street. We got library cards to the Seattle Public Library. We’ve been going to a church where we think we will probably settle during our time here. After those sentences, it can seem like we really have our lives put together here. But everything is still so new and uncertain. I am still searching for a job and we still don’t really know anyone here. I am finally beginning to miss what was home and barely beginning to feel like and think of this place as home. Sometimes it feels like we are on some sort of extended vacation. This is real, I keep telling myself. Sooner or later, particularly as relationships and rhythms form, this new reality will sink in.

Relationships and rhythms are so grounding for me. Life, for me, has always been like English class where we learned to understand the meaning of words and phrases from context clues. I think I have always found my own meaning from context clues. The friendships and circumstances around me have always helped me know my purpose. Uprooting ourselves into a vacuum of relationships and an unfamiliar set of circumstances has disoriented my sense of purpose and meaning. Sometimes I feel discouraged or even hopeless. But the line between hopeless and hopeful is a blurry one. It rests not on present circumstances, but on future perspective. So I have to choose hope. I have to trust that there will be deep friendships, meaningful work, and growing dreams. When Greg and I arrived at ACU our freshman year we wondered if it was possible to find as deep or meaningful community as we had in high school. Looking back, that question is sort of laughable. It’s like a kid in the 80s wondering if music portability would ever get any better than a Walkman. I’m sure that I will find this questioning and doubt laughable at the end of our time here in Seattle. But that doesn’t make it any less real right now.

It takes time, they say. And I know it to be true. Community isn’t made in an instant. Meaning isn’t formed in a moment. If they were, they would be suspicious. Grand things take time, like canyons carved over centuries of river-flow. Just like I choose hope as I seek purpose, I will choose intention as I seek life. Life doesn’t just happen, it is made. And so I will make due with what I can. As a job surfaces and as school begins, the shape of life will change. But for this month is will be spacious. And that can feel empty at times, but it can be restful and thrilling other times. We will make life while we are here. We will make it with thought and care. And we will not make it alone.

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