What I wrote before we moved

I can’t believe we’ve been in France nearly two years!

I read through some of my old columns from my days at the Rowlett Lakeshore Times and found this one to be particularly interesting as I’ve been pining for something elusive called home.

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I don’t know exactly why I thought of this now. Perhaps it was the state of my mind. I woke up this morning with a song playing over and over again in my noggin. “Ch-ch-changes,” sang David Bowie like a relentless rerun of Barney.

I’m one of many folks who resist change—hate it really. The Bowie song was the Issaquah High School’s 1985 Homecoming theme song. Knowing we as seniors were about to undergo huge doses of change, we deemed this song appropriate. How little we knew then.

Our lives were small, full of big hopes. Leaving meant straying from everything familiar—friendships, academics, family. Moving from the “safe” environment to the big “out there” was disconcerting. Yet, by June, we all took that leap. We all headed toward that nebulous state called adulthood.

But no one ever told me there’d be more change. Naively, I assumed graduation from high school and then college would constitute big changes. Oh, yeah, and maybe job, marriage and children. And buying a house. Or two. Or three. Or moving away from home.

The truth is change is the only thing we can really count on in this life. In a weird sense, change is the one thing that never ch-ch-changes.

With this inevitability, why do I resist change? Why do I view it as an intimidating intruder rather than a cherished friend? Because, on a certain level, I believe what I wrote in those yearbooks back in the bygone days of Issaquah High school: “Don’t change. Always stay the same.”

There is safety in staying the same. I can be confident of a situation I’ve faced before. Living in the same town for twenty years would bring a raw sense of stability I’ve only dreamed of. I’d always know where to buy the cheapest gas, who my friends were, how to live my life within the context of a small community—everything, at least on a particular level—would be easy. Simple.

But there’s something sinister about my yearbook meanderings. Without change, we cease to grow, mature. Change is the crucible that refines us, redefines us, rebuilds us. When we dare to face new adventures, we place ourselves outside of comfort. With discomfort as a ragged security blanket, we’re forced to discover what is within us, how we will cope with new stress, how we can become more kind and loving through stress.

I write this today out of experience. As we pack our boxes and close the door on our lives in Texas, I am once again clinging to my yearbook words. Never change. Always stay the same.
But life is not that way. It’s time for our family to take their own faith venture to another culture. Change will be the mantra playing in the backdrop of our lives for years to come. Gas will be in liters. Store clerks will speak French. Friends, at least initially, will be long in coming.

So, we turn to face the ch-ch-changes. Even though change is painful and bewildering. I once again pack up my home—the home I’ve wanted to be permanent. Somewhere in my mind is a prototype home—a small cottage on some land, a picket fence, a garden, birds singing, a lazy golden retriever, a quiet life. This home is permanently secured in my memory. It never changes.

But, I never get there. I doubt I’ll ever live there. I’ve had to realize that in the midst of relocating, home is people. Home is my family—my dear husband Patrick and my three amazing children Sophie, Aidan and Julia.

Although it is excruciating to welcome change as a friend, I am thankful my home will go with me. Even without the picket fence. Even when I have to say goodbye to friends, extended family and our church family that has become so dear.

Along with my family, we’ll change. We won’t stay the same. And that’s OK. Patrick and I will teach our children early that change is life’s inevitability and that weathering change is a normal part of maturity.

So, we pack our boxes. We pull each other close. We face the ch-ch-changes together. And we’ll never be the same.

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