we got to go back to Michigan this weekend. brad and michelle got married (second boiler room wedding of the season, but very distinctly different in feel than ours) and we floated around the reception room getting giant hugs and excited updates from so many beautiful people. we met the newest member of the tendero tribe, were introduced to beautiful missionaries in zambia, got hugs from spiritual mothers, danced with the boiler room interns, got updated on the west side street news, and ate amazing food. on saturday morning we had a southern breakfast with heather and david (and zora!), which included the sort of conversation that makes you feel less alone or bizarre in the world.
we went to lansing and prepared for a baby shower for our soon-to-be neice or nephew. i saw most of the women on both sides of my family. i was given a family heirloom: an estate ring, belonging first of all to my great-grandmother hauke, then to my grammy sellers, then to my aunt lou, and now to me. it is beautiful and i feel proud to keep it with me until it is time to pass it onto the next woman in the family. tim, mom, and me sat around and read aloud from the letters mom wrote to me and justin when we were very small. this caused a lot of laughter. marguerite is full in her pregnancy, and we celebrated her well at her shower, i think. there were 4D ultrasound photos of the baby that have given us a pretty good idea of what he/she will look like, and have somehow made my rate of falling in love with him/her accelerate. while the women surrounded marguerite with feminine graces, tim went out for a steak lunch with justin, dad, and uncle mark.
and on the way home, with tim driving, his hand resting on my leg, i cried in my heart.
it’s home. and every time that i go back, it seems to stunt my assimilation process in Madison a bit. i find that i have to guard myself from dwelling on thoughts of how we might finagle a way to move back to Michigan as soon as possible. because though i love tim very much and have some degree of confidence that Madison is where i’m to be right now, my heart aches for home: for the familiar streets, the sites that have memories attached to them, and the people who know who i am and who held me when i was small. a have had a great cloud of loving witnesses in my life, who are loving me still. i want to celebrate their births, new jobs, and marriages with them. i want to be with them in their sicknesses and their fears. i want to see my friends’ children grow up.
sometimes i feel almost angry with tim, as if this is somehow his fault. or, more than that, i think i feel angry that he isn’t also experiencing this up-rooting. for him, it seems, getting married is this uncomplicated and lovely thing in the middle of a familiar terrain, whereas for me it comes with strings attached, and those strings are tugging my heart in a million directions. on top of the “violence of merging two independent lives”, i am also suffering the pain of separation. and i don’t understand why HE doesn’t have to experience that, too. i wish sometimes that we could BOTH move somewhere where neither of us has ever lived, so that we could be in it together.
but we listened to a teaching on the way home and as we did, i could feel something begin trying to shift in me, if i would cooperate with it. i could begin to see that the Father has positioned me where He has for exquisitely good reasons, which may have to do with driving home the truth that my hope and identity are only in Him, or with knitting my heart to my husband in a place where this is not competition for intimacy, or perhaps with preparing me for larger leavings in the future (to new continents and foreign peoples). i found this familiar little prayer weakly rising up in my heart, “jesus, i trust you.” and i adjusted the unfair anger with my husband and settled down onto the truth of his empathy and his patience with me.
and i am renewed in knowing that i need Him, much more than i have been allowing myself to. so whatever lack of clarity, impatience, or grief i am experiencing in this season, i can begin with clinging. i can take hold of the edges of my schedule and pull myself into a closet with jesus a while until, over time, patterns begin to emerge, and His voice gets clearer, and we start to see that we’re living into the purposes of God with such joy that i don’t notice the sadness as much.