Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Shall NOT Be Moved

I am so sick of moving. Growing up, we moved a lot. Barring the four years I was home-schooled, I went to five different schools, not mentioning the fact I moved my senior year of high school. Before I got settled in the university I am currently attending and have a graduation plan set with, I attended six colleges. After middle school, we moved approximately every three years. Counting travel time, the amount of time you spend with your life in a box or your butt on a plane, I was established only about two years and nine months of that time. My family got used to making new friends and knowing that the ones we loved and had shared our lives with would eventually move as well.

I grew accustom to filling whatever position was necessary as my father was a pastor; it usually meant starting a youth group or a Sunday school class, teaching children's church, joining the choir, planning on spending my Saturday mornings volunteering during choir rehearsal in the nursery department. I remember always being at the ground-breaking ceremonies. Everything I joined, I had to start for it to exist. If we wanted a drama team, I needed to start one up. If I wanted kids in the church to play with, then I had to be part of organizing a youth group. With military rotations being what they are, the chapel setting was in constant fluctuation. I never got to be a part of things in their prime or at their peak of success. Well, rarely anyway.

I married a military man and knew that moving a lot was part of the package. When we decided (when we were dating, mind you) that he would be separating at the first available break in his commitment, I was delighted that we could finally be established. The friends we made would be friends to stay, and I liked it that way. We joined a church (New Life Providence) shortly after we were married and it was a much larger church than I've ever been associated with. Their college groups were healthy and thriving and there were plenty of life groups to choose from as well as they their own worship service just for that populous. I was tickled pink. Their music department was excellent and well developed and we were so glad to be able to be fit in to ministry in that capacity. But we were more happy to know that if we were to miss a Sunday, life would continue as normal. Having been the backbone for so long, it was nice to simply be a shoe; I could be used, I could be used another day, and quite frankly, if left alone for too long, I could be forgotten, which was not desirable, but part of the package.

We are looking to possibly renew our lease this February for the fourth time and if we do so, it will be the longest I have lived anywhere, ever. That's not really saying much. I know that we are enjoying our friendships, our church, our work and our community, but every time I think about moving, I hear Avril Lavigne in my head: "Went back home again, this sucks gotta pack up and leave again. Say goodbye to all my friends can't say when I'll be there again. It's time now to turn around, turn my back on everything" (Let Go, 2002). She alludes to being a mobile, always moving, never still, always adjusting, never stagnant. I can appreciate not being in still water, but it is frequently in those still waters where reprieve is found.

All this to say, a very dear friend of mine (my non-Joshua best friend) is preparing to move elsewhere for her husband's work. I wasn't prepared for that. I was so excited that finally we would live in one place for awhile, it didn't occur to me that others have the same option. Conversations are coming more frequently with references to that wretched event and though I have moved many times, this is something I am not ready for.

She and I have created one of those relationships that everyone dreams about but no one has. She and I met as fresh newlyweds in a Bible study we were both new in attending, and to put it kindly, we did not prefer one another. I seem to remember being at a barbecue for our music ministry and she had a foot cast and so we were the only two not swimming and since Joshua was out to sea (story of our lives) somehow conversation was started.

It all seems like ancient history now as we have grown closer than sisters, but I remember the night she called and told me she was pregnant. We attended our women's study for three whole months without telling a soul and what a great secret it was! I remember lazy afternoons while her husband was at school studying and Joshua was on duty or out to sea, she would come over and play cards or Othello with me and we would eat and laugh until the baby got the hiccups. She gave me a job at a farm when Joshua and I couldn't buy groceries, I worked at a petting zoo, sweeping goat poop and feeding bleating donkeys. I came home smelling like something fiercely disgusting, but it was a great bonding experience.

I remember being so tickled with the idea of hosting a baby shower that was themed around Fresh crepes and strawberries and our make-shift maypole. I remember feeding her what we can only call "pregnancy soup" as it had all those great foods you aren't supposed to give pregnant women. Needless to say, she went into labor that night, in retrospect, I did think it was odd that she left so quickly. I remember watching a slew of whiny women come in and leave before I got to hold her baby that early morning.

The summer ended and my birthday came: I asked for riding lessons and so through that cold, dreary winter and spring she and I would tromp out to the field and bring back the draft horse that I was to ride, saddle up and ride under the arena lights while the wind blew and we sat bundled up covered in horse hair and smelling like something one only has nightmares about. I don't think I'll ever pursue being an equestrian or that after she skips town that I'll ever step foot on a farm again, but I know that from my love of her, I enjoyed it.

Time has progressed and we have grown closer still, and perhaps that is the separation I am dreading. Our two trees have grown so close together, our roots have intertwined and are reaching nutrients from the same sunlight, the same soil and the same water table. Uprooting one tree will cause severe damage to the other. I have no excitement of the day in which that will occur. I know it is forthcoming and that has made be so funny lately. I have this irking twinge to pull away, disconnect, remove myself from their lives that I love so much. I know it isn't right, but it hurts so deeply to think of being so closely connected to someone you know will be removed from you.

We swam tonight, I didn't want to look her in the eyes or for her to see the hurt in mine. I did not want to share a lane at the pool, I did not want to talk, I did not want to hang about. I just wanted to swim and get our date over with. How terrible. All the way home all I could think was about the importance as a military family of utilizing every possible moment and savoring every opportunity. I'm crushed, I'll admit, but I know that this time will yet be sweet.

Tomorrow is a new day, a new opportunity to relish what I have and enjoy the remaining months before I break fresh ground with someone new. Of course, she will have much to live up to, and who knows? This may be the one relationship I get to keep, now that I'm established and all...

Psalms 16:8 says, "I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved."

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