And, here we are. Thom and I have officially completed our move from Long Island, New York, to Portland, Oregon. Well. Officially we will be living in Tigard, Oregon, but our apartment isn’t free until the 10th of July, so we are crashing with my brother- and sister-in-law in the meantime.
The move was romantic and adventurous. We sold all our furniture, packed what could fit into our car, along with our two orange cats, and left the rest. After months of minimalizing and trimming down, the decision to leave most of our things felt natural and easy and light.
We drove across the country in a zig zag, visiting my good college friend and her new baby in Ohio, holding hands in the blazing sun on the college campus where we met in Fort Wayne, eating baby back ribs with my grandparents in muggy Illinois. We sampled handcrafted ginger ale and rootbeer with my brother and his fiancee in Des Moines, and walked along the high waters of the Arkansas with my parents in Colorado. And then we felt the treachery of the desert in Utah and slept in a skanky, only-room-available motel in Brigham City. My ears plugged through the mountains and mesas of Idaho, and we fed a sheep and a llama at a gas station in the Middle of Nowhere. No, really.
We swore off talking about “home” as the cottage that is no longer ours to rent, no longer holds our possessions, or our daily lives, or our cats.
We went out for brunch our first day here, drinking coffee and fresh smoothies and devoured a vegan waffle breakfast sandwich. Very Portland of us. And then went for a jog around a gorgeous golf course, marveling at how very much “us” this new place was.
And then today, we went to a new church.
You only have to talk to us for about two seconds to know that the thing we miss the very most about Long Island is our church family. And don’t get me wrong, the church today was very lovely. The worship team was talented, the pastor profound, the mission statement biblical. But it wasn’t family.
Not that we expect to find family right away. We get it, really. We know that family comes as a result of time, commitment, intentionality, and putting roots down. We know this.
Honestly? We could care less about the possessions we left behind. And though it was nostalgic to leave our first home, we don’t desire to spend another night in our cottage. The home we are really missing, that is leaving us feeling a little un-anchored today, is our family. Our brothers and sisters, our missional community. They are home to us.
So, today, as very “us” as our new home is, we are missing the home we left behind – the community and barbeques and times spent over dinner tables and the times in prayer. Do we doubt that God has brought us here, at this time, on purpose? Absolutely not. We are clear, on mission, intentional, and inspired to be here. And tomorrow we will start new jobs and pick up the tools to begin building new family and new relationships and new home.
But tonight? Tonight we tell you to hold your loved ones close. Invite them over for dinner again. Linger a little longer over yet another cup of coffee. Peel back another layer of your lives, and let them in a little deeper. Tell them one more time that you love them, that you are thankful for them. Lean in, dig deep, give them a hug. Pray and laugh and cry and ask for help.
Because, no matter where you live, no matter what possessions you have, or how much money in the bank, or whatever stressors you are facing, this is home: to love and be loved and to live in community with each other.