When we first decided as a family to spend this year in Vancouver - a year felt like a long time.
A lot of things can change in one year.
Babies are born. People die. Friendships change. Life happens.
Along the way - as life is happening in the place you came from - life happens where you are too.
Friendships are made. New places are explored. Challenges are risen to. Kids grow.
As our year-end date to stay in Vancouver was looming closer, we were faced with a decision. The project Mike was working on that brought us here in the first place was behind schedule. It wouldn't be finished before we'd leave and HATCH wanted Mike to stay on and finish up. This kind of thing isn't surprising in the world of consulting engineers. At HATCH they laugh when you sign up for a one year project. They say that if you agree to one year, it really means two. That was always in the back of our minds when we decided to come here.
Meanwhile, in the land of our girls, they were feeling like they were finally a part of something at their school. Truth be told - they've been troopers through this whole experience. Jumping in, open to change and so often fearless in situations that would have made me cower. The girls for the most part, were open to the idea of extending out time here. Of course they were torn. Ellie especially, had sad moments. She is fiercely loyal and true. "But I told all my friends I would be back for grade 3. I promised them." I knew just how she felt.
For me, the thought of telling friends in Winnipeg that we would stay for another year was painful. I carried a lot of guilt and responsibility for not following through with what we had planned. It's hard to let people down and feel the weight of it. I felt every ounce.
I live my life often muddled up in the "what if's". What if Hannah's friends move on without her? What if she starts grade 7 and feels alone? What if our amazing neighbors get fed up with our absence and move away? What if someone gets sick and needs us? What if our dear friend's new twins don't know us or like us when we return? What if we're not able to extend a picture of faith to our girls without a faith community around us? What if our community at LCS dissipates and we have to start over? What if everything moves on without us?
What if indeed.
What if's can make your head spin. They make you paranoid and afraid. If you let them, they will consume you. They are made up of fear and darkness. They leave you feeling alone.
And so in the midst of the "what if's" we are staying here for another year.
I am training myself to push the "what if's" aside, along with their equally unattractive companion of fear. And in the times I can't push them aside, I am learning to live life right smack-dab in the midst of them.
It doesn't always feel very good.
But there is lots of beauty and exchanges of substance and sprouts of life growing up from this place.
A little over a year ago, as we were making the decision to come here in the first place, I was in the midst of reading Donald Miller's book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Donald Miller's writing has been my companion throughout the last several years of transitioning how I see God and faith. Donald's writing doesn't tell me what to think or believe, it just helps me explore what is a part of me to begin with. For the record, I'm still transitioning. But that is another story for another day.
As we were in decision-making mode last year, I read and underlined these words :
"The most often repeated commandement in the Bible is "Do not Fear". It's in there over two hundred times. That means a couple of things, if you think about it. It means we are going to be afraid, and it means we shouldn't let fear boss us around. Before I realized we were supposed to fight fear, I thought of fear as a subtle suggestion in our subconscious designed to keep us safe, or more important, keep us from getting humiliated. And I guess it serves that purpose. But fear isn't only a guide to keep us safe; it's aso a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life." (p. 108)
Here's to another year of exploring, challenging, learning, hurting, missing, loving, discovering and growing.... and not being tricked into living a boring life in the midst of it.