People who relocate from time to time, for employment, national service, ministry, health, or many other reasons, understand the trauma and joy of the experience called MOVING. Abby has experienced it thirty-two times, and this is only my fourteenth. Sometimes I almost envy those who live a lifetime in the house where they were brought as babies…and yet…there is excitement and anticipation that they, in the blessing of their stability, never know.
This moving experience was particularly interesting for me because we were preparing to live in our twenty-one foot long motor home, with its built in, ship-like compartments and “everything in its place” requirements. That meant that much had to be left behind, distributed or destroyed. But even more daunting was the distance, the pending separation from loved ones and dependable friends. Only twice before have I experienced the tug on my heart that this move brought – when my daughter and her family moved to Florida eleven years ago, and when my son and his family moved to California several years later. Or perhaps it was also experienced when each of my husbands moved permanently to the Heavenly shore.
I feel sometimes like Charley Brown in Snoopy Come Home, when he cries out: “I hate good-byes. What I need is a few more hellos!”
That is the sorrow and the joy of relocation. I think of my grandmother, who left her homeland in Europe at the age of nineteen, never to see her family again. Mail was two to three months in crossing the ocean, so the news was always old when it arrived, and the writer may have been deceased by the time the reader received it. Today, we are connected in so many ways, so the pain is alleviated by email, texting, phone calls, all instant connections available, even here in Lion Country Safari Campground, a beautiful living area attached to an animal preserve and recreational park.
We are not yet sure why we are here, but we believe that this is where we are called to be at this time, for God’s purposes and our blessing. We felt like Abraham, packing up our possessions and our lives, and setting off to a place that we had not seen, knowing not why or for how long, but following the voice that says “Leave what you know and follow me. I have plans for you”.
We expect to be blessed here, but, more important, we expect to be a blessing here. How, when, to whom, we may never fully know, but we will share the presence of Jesus Christ every day, as God enables.
I am beginning this blog to tell the story of God’s grace in the everyday experiences and encounters of our lives. Abby and I are anticipating many hellos and are refusing to say good-by to any of you who desire to make this journey with us. Come along for the adventure, and we will go on safari together, to rejoice in God and share the joy of Jesus Christ.
I will be writing each week, and sharing something in the newsletter of The Church of the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, in Grafton, West Virginia, each month. You can follow our story there www.cogswv.org , on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000042786810 or at the blog site https://saintsonsafari.wordpress.com. I welcome your responses and the sharing of your thoughts, as long as they are encouraging and edifying.
So we begin…
The blogger herself… Carol Crawford Rowe
Abigail Elizabeth Reynolds, The Rev. Bert Coffman and Suzanne Coffman, our loving and grace-filled escorts to FL