January 24, 2012

Solitary Confinement or Solace in Solitude?

Until we find a place to live in Slippery Rock, we are living at my in-laws' house. They are not here for a few weeks, which is a great mercy. I say that not because we do not like them (on the contrary, I LOVE my in laws), but because we have brought so much clutter and chaos to their house that I appreciate the chance to sort it out and put it away without them having to trip on it. They live on a few acres outside a teeny town that sits right on a bend in the Allegheny River. It is a picturesque location for sure, especially with as much snow as we got over the weekend. But any way you slice it, this house is in the middle of nowhere.

The remote location is a huge contrast to our bustling, urban community in St. Louis, and the past few days have given me a chance to reflect on the major advantages and disadvantages to this situation. We must leave over an hour before church begins to make it on time. It doesn't always take an hour to get there, but since the quickest route involves rural back roads, we have to leave enough time to slow down in case we encounter bad conditions on the roads. By contrast, our church in St. Louis sat just 10 minutes from our house on straight, mostly flat thoroughfares.

And tasks that used to be so simple like going to the grocery store now feel like monumental undertakings. It is over 16 miles to the nearest Aldi, my favorite grocery store, so shopping takes half the morning (it takes the entire morning if you add in a play date at the mall with new friends, but that also makes it more fun). In St. Louis, if I realized in the middle of cooking that I needed an ingredient, I could dispatch Lindon to travel .89 miles to Aldi to get whatever I needed. In fact, .89 miles would get me to a play date, too. Now it won't even get me to the end of the street. 

Being so far away sometimes feels very lonely, especially when my two knee-high compadres are disgruntled. And Lindon's hour-plus commute each way is far from ideal. But with the isolation comes...quiet. And beauty. The windows of this house do not rattle from the booming bass of a car using our street as a cut-through. There are no fences. Nash can explore the surrounding woods until his little puppy heart explodes with happiness. Eagle-eyed Levi even spotted a deer meandering across the driveway at dusk one evening last week.

This morning was a balmy 38 degrees, so we walked down the driveway and across the road to gaze at the "viver," the mighty Allegheny. On the way down I pointed out to Levi a stream that runs parallel to the driveway. We found where it pours into the river and followed the stream back up to the house, being careful to not slip on the mud or step in deer poop. The stream was so loud in the absence of any other noises. I don't know if I ever realized how loud a stream can be. It made me look forward to warmer weather when we can follow the stream further up and see where it goes. And I am sure I can locate the perfect spot om the bank for sitting and reading.

This arrangement is definitely temporary, though we do not have an exact move-out date just yet. And we do our best to make the trek into civilization often to see family or meet with friends from church. As with most things in our life right now, I handle the adjustment better on some days than on others.  But there is something healing in the quiet, some restoration in the remote. It gives me the space to process, to grieve, and to dream.

And the stream drowns out my grumbling.

January 17, 2012

Settling In to a New Life

I write this post from the computer at my in-laws' house in East Brady, Pa. This quiet cottage on the Allegheny River is our abode for the next few weeks. I have been here less than 72 hours, so the shock hasn't worn off yet. So much has happened, yet I struggle to find expression for my divergent thoughts and emotions. My life remains in boxes, some of which sit behind me. The rest are in the garage until we get to a permanent living arrangement.

I am grateful for this new state of life, but also grieving. My heart feels hopeful, and exhausted. I continue to discover new possibilities, potential friendships, and breathtaking views, all while wrestling with the usual fear and pride.

This post is vague because I feel like I am viewing life through a wide angle lens. Nothing in particular is in focus. Everything is just there. Please bear with me as I try to bring the details in to focus. 

January 3, 2012

Broverly Wuv

I heard recently that scientists believe siblings between the ages of 2 and 5 fight every 6.7 minutes. Knowing those days are in my future makes me treasure moments like these even more. These boys will no doubt have their share of feuds, but I am already praying that they will love each other deeply and help to bring out the best in each other.