We just moved across the country, and I don’t know where to call home.
Three months ago, my life entered into one of the largest transitions of my life. It became clear that one phase of my life was ending and another was beginning, and I was eager for change. A career shift was in order, but it required a big change, bigger than most of the changes I had ever experienced.
After several years of dreaming of earning a living with my words someday (but never anticipating I would), I have taken a writing job in Greenville, South Carolina. I know God has been orchestrating this transition because it’s just like Him to give us challenges bigger than we’re prepared for, but a passion to fulfill. He invites us to take risks because taking risks is how we change and grow.
In late November 2013, my wife and I got rid of excess belongings and packed the remainder into boxes and an SUV. There were many goodbyes. With heavy but hopeful hearts, we watched Oregon’s Cascade Mountains diminish in the rearview mirrors.
We spent over a week on the road, spanning the breadth of the United States, taking in parts of the country we had only seen in photographs before. We talked a lot about our future, our new city, shared interests we hoped to find in new friends, and how we would make our home in a new state.
It’s difficult to move away from a place that was an established home. The comforts of routine, familiar friends and family, the steadfast presence of the mountains over our shoulders. Some well-meaning people told us not to leave Oregon. But we knew we could not mistake comfort with complacency. We would not allow fear of new beginnings to hinder the gravitational pull toward what God was moving us into.
It was not easy leaving behind our family and friends and community. We do not wish to abandon our relationships with the people of our old home. But that is now what Oregon is to us: a dear home, but not our present home. We have started writing a new chapter, one in which our home is South Carolina. To be present and serve well the new community we’re committed to, we must tune our attention to the people of this Southern state, to our neighbors and few friends, and to more who enter our lives.
A few days into our cross-country trek, I stumbled upon this quote:
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”
– Miriam Adeney
We will never forget Oregon, or the other places we’ve each lived. We carry with us the support and love of dear people in each of our former homes, and we will be back for visits. It is not the end of those relationships; it is simply another phase they will enter. We have been marked with the impressions of people who have significantly impacted our lives, who helped us and challenged us, and made us all around better people.
If you are one of those people, thank you.
- To Darryl and Wendy, who served us homemade omelettes on a sunny Salt Lake City morning.
- To John and his family, who bought us hot apple cider and welcomed us to Colorado.
- To Samantha and Tyler, who filled us in on the past few months of their lives while dining in downtown Denver.
- To Grandpa John, Grandma Harriette, and Uncle Steve, who served us homemade soup and breakfast rolls and drank Green Rivers with us at the Weirick Drugstore in Colfax, Iowa.
- To my mother Jill, father James, brother Lee, sister Laura, and brother-in-law Tyler, who gave me the best Thanksgiving at home I’ve had in years.
- To my dearest friends, Seth, Nate and Robyn, Daniel and Kelsey, Chris, Tim, and new Instagram friend Alexandra, who made our time in Minneapolis and Rochester rich in food and drink.
- To our friend Benjamin, who took us to some of the best eats and views of downtown Chicago in one night (and his roommates, who kindly offered us their room).
- To our dear friends Brian and Danielle, who welcomed us with the warmest hospitality when we finally arrived in Greenville, South Carolina after a long, long week on the open road.
If you are a person who’s played a part in our journey, thank you. It wouldn’t have been the same without you.
And you, if you have played a role in our lives, big or small, thank you. We may never fully be at home again, because a piece of our hearts is with our friends all across the country. But it is you who make us at home, no matter what the mile marker.
What transitions are you going through? Have you experienced a drastic move?