Transition seems to be a constant in my life. Not only am I an immigrant who no longer lives in the land where she was born, but I have been a resident in four states. Moving has become second nature to me and I’m such an experienced packer that I was offered a job by the company that moved us last time!
Although uprooting, and leaving behind treasured friends, a church family and a familiar locale is difficult, there are certain aspects that I find enjoyable. I love exploring our new town, searching for used bookstores, thrift shops and ethnic restaurants. Before GPS and iphones, one of the first purchases I would make would be a local map book or street directory. It would soon become dog-eared and dirty, losing the pages that had all my latest favorite places. It was my new best friend.
But settling into a new place is also extremely stressful. When we moved to North Carolina, in the first week I got a speeding ticket and locked myself out of the car twice – once with the engine running! I was trying too hard to have everything be perfect for my kids and husband. Seeing the sadness and hard times that my kids were going through as they adjusted to a new school, new friends and a loss of everything familiar just tore me up, and I was trying to make everything right. Of course, I couldn’t do it. We had to push through that difficult time where we had no friends down the street for me to have coffee with, or the kids to have round to play. We had to be the visitors each Sunday when we were looking for the right church for our family – it was hard for my shy children.
But we move through the valleys and take joy in the little things that give us pleasure. My children loved nature and science museums so “discovering” mountain trails for weekend walks, and looking at the snakes at the local nature center were new and exciting things for them. And eventually the unfamiliar becomes the familiar. Eventually the valley widens out into a plain.
“… for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”