Friday, June 22, 2012

unexpected changes

(Disclaimer - I don't know why most of this post is highlighted white - 
there is no significance to the highlighted sections
except to show how technologically incompetent I am....)

After many months of uncertainty and waiting on the Lord, we thought that the biggest elements of our everyday life had finally solidified. We thought we knew what kind of work Rich would be doing and in what area of the country we would be living. He had been unofficially selected for a position in a thriving Diocese in the Midwest, and was looking forward to being involved in lots of awesome branches of ministry including those pertaining to youth, young adults, engaged and married couples. Tonight we learned that the position has fallen through, due to extraordinary circumstances. We are pretty shaken and deeply disappointed. But in this too, the Lord is at work. There is nothing to do but cling to Him in trust.  What follows is the post I had been working on this afternoon, hours before we got the sobering call this evening..... 

Life is good - really good. There's tremendous peace in finally knowing what kind of work Rich will be doing - and until he starts, we are in a sort of fleeting season of leisure, rest and deep contentment. The kids are sleeping well, eating normally, scrubbing toilets, bringing in paychecks and not crying at all. Just kidding - but they are sleeping well and crying less. Last week we picked out a twelve week old All-Black kitten, named her "Sara Socks", and she has helped immensely in the child-joy department. She doesn't (much) mind Joseph pulling out large chunks of her fur, nor Bernadette carrying her everywhere in a chokehold, nor Maria forcing her little whiskered face into the food bowl to "help her" eat. 
Every morning Joseph naps right after Mass, Richard gets some peaceful time to either fix up the house for sale or to relax, and the girls and I go visiting. All of my good friends in Pennsylvania have children who match mine in ages - and because the mothers are so lovely, naturally the children are unfailingly delightful as well. (Just like mine.) The girls and I are enjoying our new lives as social butterflies. A lot. And Richard is getting lots of projects done in these child-free hours. Everyone wins. 
Richie's latest achievement: repainting the bathroom
(Joseph woke up a bit early and Papa had to finish painting with one hand
while holding the little guy with the other hand....
we're still working on getting the paint off his tiny feet) 

Our afternoons have been full of splashing in the little wading pool, swinging on the porch, visiting parks & playgrounds - and refereeing whose turn it is to hold the kitten. But by 6:30 each evening, all three kids are tucked in bed and Rich and I get to spend truly peaceful evenings together. It's been like a series of little honeymoons. For the past six years he has been out doing ministry anywhere from three to five nights a week - this little interlude of quiet evenings at home is such a treat. We're playing board games and card games - and talking - and just being together in happy silence. Our marriage feels especially blessed and rejuvenated. We're loving having our porch swing again, and our tranquil little neighborhood overlooking a beautiful cemetery. We're amazed by how the fireflies have proliferated in our absence - and how the stinkbugs have disappeared. It's lovely. 

It is going to be hard to leave it all again. And for good this time. 

even lovelier glittering with fireflies at 9pm

Pennsylvania itself has no hold over me. P.A. is to me what L.A. is to Neil Diamond. In other words,

P.A.'s fine,
 but it ain't home
New York's home, 
but it ain't mine
no more. 

Pennsylvania itself has never felt like "home" to me. New York, for all that I resist much of what defines it, is still the place that just "feels" like home. My goodness, I would never want to live there ever again - it's just that things make sense to me in NY. I know how to get places, all the little towns are like old friends and even the way that people drive makes sense. (Richard insists otherwise, but I think that New Yorkers' hyper-aggressive, horn-obsessed driving is just regular, ho-hum, normal driving.) Since I left NY, I've spent four years in Rhode Island, two in Ohio, four in Pennsylvania and two in New Zealand. My husband insists that New Zealand is his "true homeland" but I'm still searching for mine. Maybe it's waiting for me in (the Midwest). I am so much more cornfield than I am Times Square - and I have liked every single person from the Midwest that I've ever met. But it's a little sad now to think about leaving the pieces of P.A. that are very home-like. Our house here is the most perfect little "Kelly home" that I've ever lived in. My friends here really feel like home to me - I didn't appreciate that fully until just this month. Our kids have grandparents, aunts, uncles - family who love them - here. 
a purple bedroom, a new kitten, and the entire Little House series:
little girl heaven

I think a week ago, Rich and I were in a bit of a sadder place about leaving all that we have just so recently regained. These last few days have brought a lot of peace and hope. We're much more focused now on the possibilities and adventures that await us, rather than on that which we will leave behind. We still will leave with some pain and difficulty of course, but also with deep conviction that we are  following the plan - the very good plan - that the Lord has laid out for us. Rich is so enthused about this new job and I love to see that. We are both a bit anxious about where we will live and about how the whole moving thing is going to go (selling our house, living apart temporarily, finding a new neighborhood and house that is a good "fit" for us, helping the kids - Maria in particular - deal with more loss, more transition, more instability). But He knows what He is about. And we trust in that. 

I can do nothing other now than reiterate those last two thoughts from earlier today, even though our circumstances have changed so dramatically in just a few hours. He knows what He is about. And we trust in that. For the past two years in particular we have dealt time and again with hard news, uncertainty, challenges and devastating surprises. And He has seen us through all of it. We have done best when we have had nothing but Him to cling to. So I am - in some true but odd sense - glad for this.  Or at least at peace with it. I'm not properly "glad" - far from it, actually. But I only want to be where He wants us. If He wants us in that job after all, He will work it out and we will be absolutely thrilled. If not, He has something else that He is asking of us, and we will embrace that. Please pray for us to remain steady and unwavering in trust. And obviously for work - the Lord has provided for a little while more of job-searching time, but due to Joseph's medical issues and our unborn baby, we are hoping to be insured as soon as possible.