Monday, January 11, 2016
A long, slow, exhausting climb.
Dragging my whole family, and all of our worldly goods behind us.
The move itself usually goes pretty smoothly...after all, we've done this a few times, and know what to expect (the unexpected!!), so we're prepared, for the most part, when things happen.
The sequence of events is something like this:
We get orders, usually about six months before the expected move, and start preparations.
I start dumping things...things that have accumulated because of where we are (the snow shovels from Montana would NOT be needed in Virginia Beach!), things that have accumulated because of how long we have been in one place (the stuff expands to fill the space available...NO we do NOT need 11 bicycles!!), and all the papers. So. Many. Papers.
We plan the date for the movers to come evaluate the household goods.
We plan the date for the movers to come pack the household goods.
We pack beloved things that we fear may be broken (or stolen!) to carry in our personal vehicles.
We plan the clothes we'll need for the transition period, until our household goods are delivered.
With the last move, there was the extra step of preparing the house to sell, and selling it.
We get the vehicles ready for the long drive.
We gather medical records and school records and veterinary records.
The movers come and pack the household goods.
We pack all of the rest of it into our personal vehicles, and stuff the children and the dog in there, too.
Somewhere in the midst of this, Jason is checking out of his command, there are farewell parties, and dinners, and last-minute get-togethers.
And suddenly, it is all over, and we are driving out of the town/city we have grown to love, and are off to a new adventure in a new place.
For a little while, the new is good...there is excitement about new schools, and new jobs, and figuring out a new house, and a new community, and finding a new church.
Then the reality of the newness really sinks in, and every one of us starts to miss the friends left behind, and the feeling of familiarity that helped us feel comfortable in the area, and suddenly the new is hard.
And the hard doesn't go away, and there is no way to make it easier. Making new friends, and finding one's way around a new community, and learning cultural expectations in a new place are always a process, and they just have to be lived through. There is no skipping over them. So, everyone just keeps going, and keeps doing, and tries to make the best of the hard, dark middle, recognizing that there WILL be light...hopefully sooner, rather than later.
And then one day, after months of climbing, and slipping, and sometimes falling, suddenly we find ourselves getting to an easier part of the climb. We can see light. We have friends again. We have found our way around town (without the GPS!). We know how to get to the grocery store, and the mall, and the doctor, and the dentist...and we realize that the climb has gotten easier, and we can actually see something besides the trail in front of us.
And this is when we find our footing again. For myself, for a lot of this past year, I have felt like the whole climb has been up a muddy, slippery slope, and I just couldn't get a grip, or find any toe-holds. This part of the climb has been spent staving off depression, and loneliness, and anxiety. Feeling unsure of my footing, or of my future, left me fearful and served to emphasize other difficulties we were experiencing at the same time.
Now, I can feel the fog lifting, and I can see the horizon. I look down, and I find solid places to put my feet, and I know that the climb has been worth it, and we are coming out the other side...stronger, steadier, and hopefully growing through this long, hard climb.