26 February 2014

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

Hello elephant. It’s time you left.

I moved out when I got married, but maybe I am only now truly growing up, moving out on my own without the familiar presence of my parents’ lives happening alongside mine. Their lives are obviously still happening, but time-zones apart from mine. A flip-flop of days and nights that means Skyping must be planned; emails must stand in for the thought forgotten until just after you say goodbye. Sitting at computers on opposite sides of the world is not the same as perching on a stool next to my mom with a cup of tea. Does it ever feel comforting and personal? Am I just not used to it yet?

Some may not understand why my parents pulled up their lives, sold the family home and moved to the other side of the world; from a place with four distinct seasons to the desert in a city surrounded by countries constantly in the news - not for good reasons. It sounds crazy. It sounds insane. It sounds exciting. It sounds adventurous. It sounds daring. I understand why my parents went - because God told them to go. They don’t need another reason. I don’t need another reason. I am incredibly proud of my parents. I am also incredibly jealous of their adventure. When will it be my turn?

Their move has taught me that God is never finished with you. My parents raised four kids who are each successful in their chosen paths. Empty-nesters with eyes on retirement, they could have sat back and been ready to grow old in my childhood home. Instead they sought God for the next step, willing and ready for it to be a big one, and it was. God is looking to use willing hearts.

Their move has taught me to hold material possessions lightly. As my parents got rid of furniture I felt the urge to take all their cast-offs, holding on to things just because they had been my parents not because I particularly liked them. I’m glad I didn’t, we don’t have the room. It was hard to say goodbye to the house I grew up in. It is still hard to drive by knowing someone else sleeps in my old bedroom, someone else perches on stools at the counter, someone else is shaking their head at pink carpet in the bedroom. (Or maybe there is a little girl who is in love with it, at least for now.)

Saying goodbye was hard, really hard. Trying to explain to my 2 1/2 year old that we won't see Grandma and Grandpa until July is hard; especially when she asks if they will buy their car and house back. Yes, there are times I wish they were still here, physically closer, often when I need a babysitter. But I am glad they are not, because to stay would have been the wrong thing. Staying when you should go, staying because of fear, because of sentimentality, clinging to memories rather than going out and making new ones, that is not living the life that Jesus came to save. My parents are living their lives following God and I am proud of them.

Goodbye elephant.

05 February 2014

Winter Wonderland

My grad class this semester (and my last one ever!) is about teaching writing. What a wonderful subject. As I learn techniques of how to teach writing, I am falling in love with writing all over again. So far each class period has started with a free-write (the best fodder for new posts). Last night's was a free-write about Winter, January or a favorite hobby/activity.  Here is what I wrote on Winter: 

Winter. My favorite. Everyone hates winter. They complain about snow but want a white Christmas. They grumble about storms coming but love their fireplaces and wood-stoves. Come on people! Move to Florida already. New England is winter. From October to March or even April sometimes. Every year. Get over it. Polar Vortex? Um, yea, just called winter around here. It’s cold. It’s snowy. It’s dark. Don’t like it? Move.

Why do I love winter so much? Why does the thought of snowflakes piled feet deep make me smile? Perhaps because my birthday is in January. I always had a sledding party growing up. Hours in the snow followed by hot chocolate by the fire then presents and cake. 

Perhaps this love is past down from my dad. Watching snow fall brings back memories of his voice reciting Stopping By Woods when we were children. For the first snowfall of the year we’d turn off all the lights in the house and just leave an outside flood on.  Standing at the door or window, watching snow fall and hearing my dad recite ‘miles to go before I sleep. Miles to go before I sleep’.

Yes, I do get sick of it being cold. Especially with a toddler. She walks very slowly and is often resistant to being picked up so that we can go faster. Yes, it’s cold. But it’s winter. This is what happens in winter. If you want 40’s and rainy move to Seattle. If you want 70’s and sunny move to southern Cali. It’s a big country. Stop complaining about the most beautiful time of year. Just sit back and watch it ‘sift from leaden sieves’.

Passing on my love of snow and winter: 

Dunking her shortbread in hot cocoa
Sand toys, snow toys - same thing right?