Living in tension

I was thinking today about the tension Dixie and I live in these days.  We are planning a move to Manitoba and everything on that end is going swimmingly, without a hitch: we were accepted into the school; we found suitable housing right on campus; we already know people out there, so we won’t be completely alone; we’ve found a church to attend; and today we even got our mailing address for out there.  Everything is falling into place nicely in Manitoba and we feel good about it.  The other day I told someone that there isn’t a bone in my body that is second-guessing this move.

And yet…and yet at the Saskatchewan end of things, it doesn’t seem to be going so smoothly.  Our lives are filled with commitments to work, the church, family, school, and we have a house to prepare to sell and then sell.  We have stuff to get rid of and decisions to make: what to keep, what to sell, what to give away; whether to sell privately or through a realtor; how to divide our time between various commitments and obligations.  We have the general stress of everyday life with young children.  We have fatigue and frustration.

There is such a contrast between what’s going on in Manitoba and what’s going on here.  It’s tempting to spiritualize it–I have done so myself from time to time.  “Things are going so smoothly in Manitoba,” we might say, “It must be God putting things in place for us.  We must be heading in the right direction.”  Or we might say, “Judging by the stress and frustration we are experiencing now, God seems to be telling us to hold off for a while, get things ironed out first, step back a bit.  It appears that his will is not that we move to Manitoba just yet.”

So under this way of thinking, we have God pulling us in two different directions.  How do we decide which is which?  We can’t and we don’t.  This may well simply be life.  There would be stress if we moved a year later or a year after that.  The stress would be different, to be sure–I’d make sure not to be in the middle of a seminary course and avoid being bivocational at the time–but there would still be stress.

It’s a strange dichotomy in our lives right now.  The future looks bright and we are hopeful, but the present seems almost oppressive at times.  I’m not sure what to make of it.

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