“I think I need to go,” I mumbled as sobs welled up from my throat. I hung up the phone.
“Are you okay Mama?” asked my little girl.
I am all right. It is no major crisis, no one has died.
Last week my husband went to look for a place for us to live along the Texas/ Mexico border. He had just called to tell me that he can’t find a house and we will move into an apartment. And while I have nothing against apartment living, this means we will most likely have to move again within the year and I will have to give up all my plants. I stare out the window at my Mealy Blue Sage which came from the countryside surrounding our last home, a hummingbird zips down to feed in the flowers.
I know they are just plants but my container garden has been producing tomatoes for us over the past month and others I have had for years, collecting a few from each of our previous homes. They are living memories of the places we have been and caring for them is sort of a therapy for me, a time to breathe fresh air, to touch something green and to be reminded that I have put down roots even if they don’t go deep.
This news comes as we prepare to move into our 7th home in the 7th new town in under 8 years. Our last move was 7 months ago (777, don’t know if that is good or bad luck?), before that it was 9 months.
Honestly we came to our decision to move to The Rio Grande Valley reluctantly. We had worked along the border in the past and had never intended to give it up. But life happened and we had been away for years now. We loved the Texas Hill Country where we had been living, the small German towns felt established and sturdy, they gave us a sense of permanence which we longed for.
Of course we are now excited to be headed south, but we were certain our faithfulness in going back to this work would at least mean that God would provide us with amazing house at a great price.
We had been discouraged after the first week of looking brought us nothing.
A week later we tried again with lots of prospects but still nothing.
Michael was on his way home with an apartment in mind and I was devastated.
. . .
Through this journey I have begun to realize how much a “place” matters.
Like it or not our place, in many ways, defines us. We are either, Texans, or Ohioans, Americans or Mexicans, Yankee or Southerner. Sometimes it is where we don’t live that speaks more of who we are as in, expat, missionary, refugee or military. Or sometimes it is the heritage of a place like African-American, or Greek (my Yiayia who was born and raised in the US to this day refers to herself and our whole family as Greek and to the rest of the country as Americans).
And now I long for a land of that feels like my own. I want to be from somewhere and to be connected.
Wandering, while sometimes necessary, is exhausting.
I recognize too that our recent transiency may be just the preparation I needed to get excited to settle down even if it is in the land of 90 degrees at Christmas and year long mosquitoes. And maybe even more importantly it may help me to understand life on the border, a place of constant transition, where leaving your home to go to a dangerous and unfamiliar land is the norm.
. . .
At 10 o’clock that night we got an email. One of the houses was available. On the first pass it was a plain house, nothing to get excited about, not a single tree in the yard.
But it did have a yard. My plants would come.
We received this small unremarkable house as a great gift.
Once again God had to hold my head under water to help me realize that I am grateful for air.
And I am grateful, oh so grateful.
We will be en route this week. Keep us in your prayers.
I’ll leave you with a song, one of our favorites as we have prepared for this journey.