God and Changes
One of the most evocative words in the English language: moving stirs all kinds of fears, hopes, joy, and sadness.I've embraced each of the emotions and 100 more in the past few months.Most of all, moving means changes large and small. Here's the story of my changes.
In June, I could sense that my temporary COVID job was drawing to a conclusion. My plan all along was to work until the world opened up again. Writing is lonely life for an extrovert, even one who is becoming more introverted as I age. When all my speaking engagements got canceled due to the virus, I took a job to keep myself sane.
While I enjoyed the small company aestetic after 34 years with the massive Federal Government, the smaller pond also came with its challenges. While smaller firms are more nimble, they often suffer from the limitations brought on by their equally small and narrowly-focused management teams. The box our particular company had put itself in seemed difficult to break out of - at least with the current cast of players (including me at the time.}
With my bank account healthy from the year of double dipping (my pension plus salary from a fulltime job), I began talking to a realtor and mortgage broker in Ohio. It had long been my plan to move to Ohio after retirement. Writing books, oppotunities for speaking engagements, and the possibilities afforded by my Washington-area pastor/church made me comfortable for the first five years of retirement, not in any hurry to pull the trigger on a major life change. All of a sudden, I began to feel it was the right time to exit the considerable hustle and bustle of D.C.
The House Hunt
Having a loving sister who knows me well, I began a virtual house hunt in Ohio. Susie did the leg work and patched me in via video call as she checked out houses with my realtor. After only the fourth house, I found a place that looked good at a reasonable price (particularly by Washington-area standards.
Well below my pre-approval cap, the house and I eventually cleared the lender's wickets and I owned a house at the beginning of July. Problem was, my job hadn't ended yet. The extra pay of at least another month of work would help me start furnishing the new place, so I decided to lay low for the month and keep plugging away at my job.
Susie brought in the mail and furniture (somehow dragging in even the heaviest of furniture boxes) with help from her husband. My great nephew mowed the lawn and other relatives also helped get the place ready for me. How can I say thanks adequately for such a Christ-centered, loving family.
While I waited to give notice at work, I began saying my goodbyes. Thirty years in Washington left me with lots of friends, church mates, and neighbors who mean the world to me. It wasn't easy to count down my last few Sundays at a church that taught me, loved me, and helped me through the COVID catastrophe. A few tears slipped out of my eyes as I hugged and said goodbye to many friends.
Across the street, I'd grown quite attached to a wonderful family (originally from Italy). How do you tell young children you still care, but you are moving 8 hours away?
Last, my housemate and 20-year-best-friend Gary was the toughest assignment. We spent an amazing amount of time together, raising eyebrows and even a few concerned looks from folks that care about our spiritual well being. Everyone who is single should be as lucky as we were to have each other as friends. We saw a couple hundred music concerts together, ate most of our suppers together, and even took several trips to places like Boston, Chicago, Nashville (for Fan Fair), Dollywood, and Orlando. Although my move doesn't preclude future fun, both of us knew it wouldn't be the same - only seeing each other a few times each year. Thank you for being the best friend I've had (besides God.)
Presto, I'm a Buckeye Again
Finally, my job did end, and it was time to go. I loaded up a van on one weekend and my car a couple of weeks later. I tried not to feel too much or care too much. It's like falling into a self-induced emotional coma so I could concentrate on the many tasks involved in setting up a new household, getting everything changed over, and prioritizing various survival tasks.
I found myself alone in a very nice house in the Dayton suburb of Huber Heights. Near where I grew up, longtime friends, relatives, and a few new friends have made it easier than it would have been to move anywhere else. Still, there have been some lonely moments as I rebuild a life.
My first priority was to find a new church. A Baptist for the past 7 or 8 years, I longed for a return to my charasmatic roots. I've found such a church and know that God made my church hunt much shorter than it could have been. Living Word church is a bit larger than anywhere I've attended lately with about 1,000 or so attening on Sunday mornings. The pastor is a great preacher (even for a long-time Bible student like me) and the people are genuinely welcoming and friendly. I love the worship and appreciate the many service opportunities. Their mission is to win Dayton for Christ, my paraphrase.
As a bonus, I've been attending the home group of my niece and her husband. I like doing life with a smaller group of people, and their fellowship has warmly welcomed me. Glen and Michelle have invested a lot of time in helping me readjust to Ohio life, and I treasure their family.
The Lord has even provided a part-time job to keep me off the streets and help me build up my financial reserves again. I run around closing loans as a Notary. It's a great fit for my personality - if I can just learn to concentrate while being delighted with God's handiwork in creating so many interesting types of people.
The most satisfying moment of my transition: exchanging my Maryland driver's license and car tags for Ohio ones. It just feels so right.
To Write or Not to Write
Some of you have noticed that I stopped putting out books every four months. (Thank you for noticing.) The encourgement is much appreciated.
After helping a friend with his book, I've taken a sabbatical from writing. Now, I'm pondering God's will for my future path. The next thing of mine that will be published, Lord willing, is the 2022 edition of All God's Creatures devotional from Guideposts. I again have 10 or so devotions in that publication. After that, I'm not sure.
A couple of ideas are bouncing around in my head. Your prayers count. If God wants me to do another book, He will speak the word to me. Without him, it wouldn't matter what I wrote. So, pray that He burns me up with a great idea.
Until we meet again, know that I love each of you and wish you the best. May God bless each one as you seek to follow in the path of our savior Jesus.