For military spouses and others who uproot your family in service to others: I am in awe of your sacrifice and grateful for the hard work you do to establish roots where ever you go. Your ability to LIVE and LOVE no matter where your home may be located, inspires us to make the most of what we have. You uproot and re-root and do so with beauty and strength.
You are heroes too.
I spent this weekend with my sister Melissa, her husband Tim and their beautiful daughters in Lexington, Kentucky. They have been in the city less than three months and this is the fifth move their family has made for the Army since they got married ten years ago. But as we celebrated my niece's 4th birthday with an outer-space themed party, the house began to fill with people. And when it was all said and done there were twenty people in their home loving on that sweet little girl. Twenty people that, three months ago, my sister did not know. I was in awe. My sister re-roots well.
These are three things I've learned from Melissa and Tim about people who uproot and re-root well:
*They just start living. They don't wait until their houses are perfectly put back together or the moving boxes are all cleared out or they are completely settled in. Settling takes time, and their time is precious. People who re-root well hit the ground living for the day at hand.
*People who re-root themselves well don't have the luxury of picky perfection. I leaned over this weekend and asked Melissa where all these people had come from. Had our dad paid them to come to his granddaughter's birthday party?!? She laughed and said, "Nope. They are all from our new church!" New church already? It's taken us three years to find the right church here in Nashville. Maybe that's because when time is of no value, we often get lost in our freedom. But for people who uproot every three years, time is of the essence. And people who uproot well value every second they have. When Melissa and Tim arrived in August, they located churches near them, wrote a list, and began to visit the first Sunday they were in town. As it turns out, they didn't need the list, because the very first church they attended- they liked. And decided to stay. And it doesn't always happen that quickly- sometimes it takes a few months. But people who re-root well don't have time to laboriously comb through churches with their mile-long lists of needs that must be met. They hold some standards tightly and the non-essentials loosely. Knowing you have three years- or five- means you don't have the luxury of looking for a perfect family, you look for a good family with open arms and jump all in. We may all do well to follow this example. There is no such thing as a perfect family. But there sure are a lot of good families out there. They may not fit all of our needs or fulfill all of our dreams and wishes- but that was never supposed to be the church's job in the first place. People who re-root well don't wait for a perfect church family, they find a place with open arms and just get to it.
*Finally, those who re-root well are open to befriending a wide range of people. When we moved to Nashville my biggest concern was Annie having friends at her birthday party. I was a *wee* bit scarred by my own third grade birthday party, which happened several months after moving to a new city, and no one came. Consequently, I did not want my own daughter to experience the same thing (although she was only turning 4-years-old and probably wouldn't remember!). I lasered in on any human that had a child in their possession. And what followed was an unlikely group of women who graciously invited me and Annie into their lives. We were all VERY different, but I wanted friends and more importantly I wanted my daughter to have friends---so I was grateful for anyone with open arms. I still am. People who re-root well are not too picky about the open arms; they are grateful for each set and willing to befriend the most unlikely people. They make friends at the library, Starbucks, church, the playground and in their neighborhood. Currently, my brother-in-law has weekly tea with the new friends he has made in the program he is studying for-they are all from the Middle East. My sister has friends who are absolutely nothing like her, friends perhaps she would never naturally be drawn to, but has been welcomed by and that's what matters.
I sat at a birthday party this weekend in awe of those who uproot and re-root well. They don't wait to "feel" settled, they aren't picky about new faith families and they are open to befriending a wide range of people. Most importantly, they don't shut down and retreat---waiting with dread for the next move, not investing because they are afraid of the good-byes, hiding because it's easier than living. They bravely, boldly, sometimes just-for-their-kids'-sake start living the minute their feet hit the ground on new soil. As we honor Veterans this week- we also honor the spouses who fight for their families to have LIFE abundant in each new place they are stationed. Your ability to LIVE and LOVE no matter where your home may be located, inspires us to make the most of what we have. You uproot and re-root and do so with beauty and strength. You are heroes too.
(PS: Apparently people who up-root well know the potential a moving box has to become a spaceship. You up-rooters rock those multi-purpose packing boxes!)