Tag Archives: moving

Life goes on

Life in the trailer goes on these days. It’s finally going on. In fact, last Friday (June 1) was the first time since graduating near the end of April that I truly felt done with school and that I was resting. Dixie did some calculations and, beginning with the candidating weekend following graduation weekend, in 34 days we were gone from home for 15 days, 14 of which were out of province. Out of four trips, 3 were planned with a couple of days of actually leaving. Between Dixie and I we spent 10 days in classes, 10 days with sick kids, 8 days of soccer for our kids, a major birthday party, school plays, and so on and so forth.

We’re exhausted and fighting illness and I’ve been sleeping more than usual (multiple naps in a day). I’m not sure if that’s the month of business or the 3 years of seminary finally taking its toll now that things are slowing down a bit.

I don’t say this to complain, but simply to point out that things really do feel like they’re “normalizing” a bit. I realize all this busy-ness is life, too, but it’s not a good life. So I’m recovering and relaxing and doing some odd jobs around the house and reading.

The biggest kick in the butt was the impromptu 2,800km round trip to Alberta and back two weekends ago. Dixie and I were in constant disagreement about where we should live when we move. It became clear that the only solution would be to drive out and have another look at our options. We took the kids this time.

It was worth it. We agreed on where we should live (in The Field, about half a mile or so from Randall and Lauralea and not much farther from a number of people who attend the church). And that did it, that settled things down in our minds so that we could relax and carry on with our remaining time in Otterburne.

We will slowly pack. I hate packing, but for now Dixie has encouraged me to pack up the books, which I find to be a reasonably tolerable task. We will move in the first week of August or so.

In the meantime, life goes on. I have the feeling that there is some work-related reading that I should probably start doing before I get there. But not just yet.

Lots of news.

I suppose it’s time for me to say something about what’s next for us. I’m generally inclined to keep things like this to myself until such time as it feels right to talk about it, and that takes time to build as I process and begin to understand my own feelings and perceptions and let things settle in me. And I also kinda sorta wanted to wait for the official letter from the church, more as a formality than anything, or maybe as something to confirm that this is really real (’cause it’s a bit surreal). It’s easier to keep things from you, dear readers, but not so easily from friends who have traveled with us on this journey and who know the stages we are at and want to know what’s happening. And information is seeping its way out into the world, by word-of-mouth, Facebook, etc. (and Dixie writing a post about it today).

So I’ve been called to The Field. That’ll mean something to some of you and nothing to others. So: I’ve been called by a church in a field quite literally in the middle of nowhere (that is, it is not in or near a town). Plopped in a field in the middle of the the Wetaskiwin-Camrose-Ponoka triangle of Alberta. It’s called Malmo Mission Covenant Church.

It’s an associate pastor position, with responsibilities for youth, families, discipleship, intergenerational stuff, etc. A pretty broad position, in my view (hold the weight jokes, folks), with room for growth and learning and change and shaping. I’m quite excited (and nervous) about that. This is a process that started last fall sometime when I put my name into my denomination’s “system.” That was followed by phone calls, interviews, prayer, votes, and so on. Well, I suppose it goes back farther than that and even farther still.

The name of the church may sound familiar to some of you. That’s because it’s the one Randall is pastoring. That’s what makes this additionally surreal. Randall was there when the stirring began and had a big part to play in my developing sense of “calling.” To work with my friend, mentor, former pastor, and someone with experience and wisdom to share is quite a privilege as well.

So, the Vanderfamily will be moving to Alberta. When we got the announcement of the church’s vote while traveling in the car a couple of weeks ago, I said to the kids, “I got the job in Alberta. What do you guys think of that?” And Luke replied, “Okay I guess. But we’ll miss you.”

Adorable! Funny! So innocent! Or should I be concerned that he seemed unphased, that it didn’t seem like a big deal that Daddy was going away while they stayed here?

In some sense we have been for some time now carrying the burden of our childrens’ grief at moving away from their friends. Particularly Madeline’s. But the kids are excited at the prospect of this new adventure. I don’t think it has quite hit us yet that we are leaving friends as well. We’ve built some lasting ones here and it will be difficult to leave them. Of course, if we weren’t leaving them, they’d eventually be leaving us. That’s the nature of friendships made at educational institutions. But I do think that I am at least subconsciously beginning to grieve, if such a thing is possible. So I’m worried a bit that this post will sound too melancholic for what is actually good and exciting news. The excitement is building with each day, but that doesn’t mean grieving doesn’t get added to the mix.

A new chapter. A new adventure. A new home. A new community. New friends. New experiences. New joys. New mistakes. New successes. New lessons. Lots of news in the next couple of months.

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.