Warning: This is a long one…
I’ve been absent from this blog for quite some time and there is a good reason for that. When I wrote my last post in November, we were also in the midst of a major transition. For quite some time we had known that Northern Virginia could not be a long-term place for our family. When we moved to the area we imagined spending warm spring Saturdays walking through Georgetown or perusing the Eastern Market, attending the acapella sing along of the Messiah at the Kennedy Center, heading to the mountains to ski in the winter and vacationing on the beach in the summers.
But as it turns out, we did very few of these things. Maneuvering the streets of Georgetown to find a parking spot is in itself a test of personal endurance, attending the Kennedy Center sing along requires arriving hours in advance and standing in line in frigid temperatures in hopes of getting a ticket, and the traffic to get over the bridge to the eastern beaches is a nightmare. I’m not saying it can’t be done, I’m just saying that we didn’t do it. Instead, we spent a lot of time rushing our children out the door so that we could sit in mind numbing traffic, working to afford our over-priced and under-sized home, and living in a sea of strangers.
As we prayed about a move, we looked at areas with lower costs of living, values that more closely mirrored our own, and the opportunity for a better quality of life. About this time, I took Evan to Iowa for a week. During that week I watched him fish with my dad, forage for firewood, catch a frog and camp outside for the first time. And he was happy - unbridled, unrestrained, happy. I remembered our trip the previous year when we drove down Grandview when Bryant school was getting out and I saw kids walking home from school, some with parents and some without (something I could never imagine my children doing in Virginia). As we looked at this tree-lined street adorned with American flags on both the lamp posts and houses, we remarked how there were more American flags on this street than we ever saw in our neighborhood in Virginia. I remember thinking to myself, “maybe life doesn’t have to be this hard…” Much to my surprise, for the first time in my life, when I thought about living in my hometown as an adult, I only felt relief.
So, as we considered where we might raise our family last fall, one of the places we considered was Dubuque. The more we thought about it, the more right it felt. So, Dave started to apply for jobs in Dubuque and through doors we believe the Lord opened, he received a job offer late last fall. So, we are starting 2011 with a fresh start in a new location. I am embarking on the new adventure of staying at home with our children full-time. And I feel peace and hope – two things I haven’t felt for a long time.
I am not naïve enough to think that changing our location will magically create the life we’ve always wanted. But, we have more support here, and fewer things working against us. We have a print hanging in our family room that says “We tend to seek happiness, when happiness is actually a choice”. I know that true joy and happiness are only found in the Lord. I also know that this joy is something we have to CHOOSE to walk in. And one of my focuses in 2011 is to CHOOSE to walk in JOY.
(Of much less importance, I am also going to try to blog a bit more in 2011. So, hopefully no more two month absences….)