There is always a story being told during a season of pressure. This is the first installment of ours.
I believe that life is a journey constantly moving us from one place to the next. Sometimes the move is physical and tactile, laden with moving vans full of brown cardboard boxes and green cellophane. Sometimes it’s spiritual, awakening our hearts to the things that matter most to our Creator. Sometimes it’s emotional, a growing-up of the mind and psyche. For some, the journey is harder than others, their road marked by difficulty and pain. What makes us the same is that we all walk, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time. We leave old places and arrive at new ones, and then start the process over again. Hopefully we are wise enough to learn and grow along the way.
For the first two and a half decades of my life the journey was relatively easy. I grew up in a loving family that never wanted for anything. My parents are still married. My brother and sister and I became friends. Everyone in my life was healthy and strong and it was only the very old people I loved who died. I landed a dream job before graduation and I married my college sweetheart. Every door I ever walked through opened for me right on time and according to my schedule.
I remember a very distinct day sitting in my corner office, soaking in the excitement of all the things that were going right in my life, feeling very acutely like I had arrived at a longed-for destination. In that moment I wanted nothing more than to choose to flip life’s cruise control switch on and just coast for the next twenty years.
I’ve since learned that in all of life change is certain, and certainly inevitable. Mike and I could not have guessed that change would come in the form of two job offers at our denominations state headquarters. The life we thought great became incredible and within a month we packed up our first apartment and moved to Southern Illinois for what we deemed the adventure of a lifetime.
Our new jobs were thrilling. Mike traveled the state speaking to churches and youth groups. I organized and administrated state wide youth events. We did our jobs well and we grew to love the people we worked with. We had a beautiful home and we relished the opportunity to get to know one another in the anonymity of a small town. At 23 and 25 it felt like we were on top of the world, both personally and professionally. It was incredible and fabulous and nothing less than wonderful.
I remember us driving home from work on an exceptionally beautiful day wondering aloud how long it would last, this overwhelming sense of blessing we felt everywhere we looked in our lives. Not because we’re pessimists, but because we’re realists. Understanding that life could not possibly continue on this kind of trajectory forever, we wondered how and when we would recognize the current season fading into the next.
Then we pulled into the garage and went on with our afternoon pretending our conversation and that little ominous thought never happened. We ended that day confident in our ability to face change and stress, but in truth we could not have braced ourselves for the kind of shift that was coming if someone had explained it to us from the beginning.