Six weeeks ago: I said yes to my Bishop and began hunting for a place to live.
Five weeks ago: I announced to my congregation that I was accepting the invitation to a new adventure in ministry.
Four weeks ago: we began to pack and say goodbye and let things go one by one.
Three weeks ago: I found myself in Nashville for training for my new position with Imagine No Malaria at UMCom.
Two weeks ago: Frantically handing over ministries and leaving instructions, I find myself down for the count with the worst sinus infection I’ve ever had and I start my new job.
One week ago: I said good-bye to my church family and began to transition to the next with new colleagues and new phone numbers and new emails and new everything.
Today: I’m sitting in our new home, directing conference calls, settling in, and starting a very different life for a short stretch of time.
I tried blogging through some of the chaos near the beginning, but then I didn’t have the time I needed to really process all of the change. I knew I needed to, but I kind of bottled it all up and have bits and pieces of thoughts saved as private posts here and there. As I get the time to look back through them, I’ll see if there is anything “salveageable” in them.
I think for today, however, the best metaphor for what my life has been in the past few weeks is to think about my kitty cats.
My cats Tiki and Turbo are shy. They are extremely loveable and very nice, but they are introverts. They don’t do well around people and would prefer to hide under the bed… at least for a few hours or until people have left.
They have traveled and spent time in other houses before. Mostly my brother-in-laws house, where they spent most of our two week vacation hiding behind a chair where they thought no one could see them.
As soon as we arrived in the new place, we put them in the laundry room where they could have some space, but wouldn’t have to see all of the people moving all of the stuff.
The problem was, they didn’t want to come out when the chaos was over. We found them hiding behind the dryer, huddled together, just hoping that no one would see them.
As my husband and I eventually dragged them out of their little cozy corner (who am I kidding, it wasn’t cozy – it was dark and dusty and a little dank, too), they were tramautized. Hearts pounding, heads bobbing back and forth, not sure of what to do or where to run and hide.
I carefully cradled one cat, Brandon the other, and we showed them the house. We took them through every room and set them lovingly on their familiar pieces of furniture. And the whole time, their heads bobbed and weaved, sniffing and smelling, trying to take it all in, overwhelmed by the differences and yet the familiarity. It was dizzying to watch them… and yet I knew how they felt.
So many things have changed in the last few weeks, and yet so many things have remained the same. It’s like the world is upside down, but it’s the same world. It’s not better… it’s definitely not worse… it’s just disorienting. I’m still craning my neck and peeking around corners and “sniffing” out what all this new life entails. I’m still unsure, and yet starting to get situated, excited, full of anticipation.
I knew the cats would be fine when Turbo hopped into bed with us last night and found “his spot” right between our pillows. And even though Tiki never made it up the stairs to our master suite the night before, he found his own way and pounced on our feet… right on schedule as the sun started to rise. They seem to be enjoying new places to run and hide, new adventures around every corner… and yet they also seem to be a little bit more cuddly and cozy – wanting to be closer than before.
Change makes you think about what is really necessary and what is really important. It brings your life into focus. It makes you want to be cozier with the ones you love and cherish the home you have. It has been a whirlwind of a month, and we are still surrounded by cardboard… but everything is finally starting to settle into place. Tiki just used all of the boxes as an opportunity to leapfrog from one pile to the next and perch a top the highest one so he could survey his new territory. I feel like even in the chaos, I’m on top of the world, enjoying the view, and ready to tackle anything.