In our new chapter of the journey

Life is good.

It feels so surreal. I feel like I have finally come home, yet when I hear the radio or television announcer refer to “your New England…,” it catches me off-guard. I never dreamed I would live here, much less love it. Yet now that we are tucked into our little village of about 2000 residents, I don’t remember being happier in my life — except on the three days that the most precious people in my life became permanent parts of it. I am so happy most of the time that I wish I could invite my friends to feel what I feel, just for one minute.

We’re settling in nicely. I’m sure we’ve probably all heard the sayings about how when you trust God — really trust! — things will work out in wondrous ways that far exceed what you could have imagined for yourself. It always seemed like that applied to someone else until now. Does it mean that I have no challenges? No. It does mean that my trust in God and faith in Her providence has grown exponentially. Somehow I have grown in my ability to believe without seeing. For me, being able to trust deeply and believe in anything or anyone took a leap of faith and a lot of courage. The leap of faith came with those four days of the cross-country drive, in moving my family to a place I had only visited once, and into a house of which I had only seen pictures. It all could have gone horribly wrong. But it didn’t.

The reality of my life now resonates with joy and childlike wonder as I re-discover what it means to be happy. I am still vigilant about my children’s safety, but I no longer worry about so many things. I am hopeful that Chris will find his niche, and rejoice in every little victory that comes our way. I now work in an environment where I am warmly welcomed and my talents and training are celebrated. The children’s school is far better than anything I dreamed possible, and the possibilities for our growth as a family are limitless. This evening as the girls and I snuggled in our living room, relaxed in our shared warmth, and secure in the privacy of our drawn curtains, I found myself really relaxing.

The sadness of having to leave some of my loved ones in California is omnipresent, but I am learning to trust that they, too, will be alright. The joy I see in my children’s eyes as they tell me about their school day and all the wonderful activities the school provides makes my spirit dance. Chris’s happiness and hope send my spirit into a jig. The warmth of my new colleagues and the new people who are becoming part of my life keep my spiritual feet light.

I have been reflecting on the changes in my professional life, and recently realized that none of my current professional pursuits would have been possible without my doctorate. None of them. Everything I do has been made possible by all the hard work I did once upon a time. My new students have captured my heart with their bravery, intelligence, and humor. I think that I needed to go through the grief that I experienced over the last two years so that I could be broken open to receive God’s love that I find in the people and places that surround me.

If for no other reason, I rejoice that I have been given the wisdom to see that my suffering was not in vain. It had enabled me to be open to love, joy, and peace.

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