a physical step in the westerly direction

hello, friends.

this afternoon marks the official start to our spring break holiday. today kirk and i are checking in and choosing seats, doing laundry, arranging for a 4 a.m. taxi cab, calling our friend who watches the kitties, packing bags, tidying up, and saying goodbye to solomon and diva. we're headed for california in the early morning. it is a trip that lasts a week and is yet another exercise in faith.

we planned this trip the week we started thinking california was a distinct possibility. realizing that august would come quite soon, that july would only afford us the possibility of a quick weekend whirlwind trip, if any at all, to secure a place and leave deposits, suddenly it struck us that spring break was fast approaching and our only real chance to do advanced legwork in the direction of california.

so we hopped online and hemmed and hawed at the $430 price for each airline ticket. then we looked at one another, reconsidered our options to go exploring and making connections on the west coast anytime soon, and ultimately clicked to purchase. then we went about making plans.

usually our visits to california are filled with fun and anything goes. this time, it has a more serious, productive feel. we've secured our application interviews for the isf program, back-to-back interviews on tuesday morning. we have plans to scout around in old town pasadena one day, fullerton and historic orange on another, getting a feel for the rental housing market in the areas we prefer. we'll visit my old church, which may become kirk's new one. we'll think on possibilities for employment, and perhaps make connections there.

on the whole, we'll be evaluating this experience in the light of living there, not just visiting, not just passing a fun-filled holiday.

we've never attempted something like this together before. when kirk and i dated, we traveled a lot, but one or the other of us usually visited the other person in their native land, where they already lived. there was already a homebase established, too, when i moved here to marry kirk. and though we've traveled many other places together, it has always been a matter of striking out together as tourists, visitors, explorers, scavengers, nomads.

but this trip? on this trip we're descending as beginning creators together, creating something new from scratch. because even though so-cal is my hometown and the prospect of moving there makes me feel i'm coming home, it has not been my home for two years now. my home has been here in winter park, with kirkum and our two cats. and so, in the coming months, we'll be exploring how to create a new home, secure for ourselves new jobs, approach a new season of training, develop a relationship with a new but well-loved church, and forge into nurturing new relationships, developing a new sense of community together.

thank goodness that it will not all be brand-new. thank goodness for the love and care and community of already long-established relationships that we'll enter into with great intentionality and overwhelming thankfulness. thank goodness at least one of us will know how to pretty much get us anywhere we want to go and will know about how much time it will take to get there every time. thank goodness the school we're hoping to attend is where i have worked and completed my undergrad, so that the environment is already known in many ways. and thank goodness that so-cal will feel like an old familiar in many ways even for kirk, thanks to the many visits he's already taken there on behalf of his life with me.

but still. we are feeling the stretch of faith that incarnates fear and trembling and constant self-reminding that we are not in this alone. when we really stop and think about all this, we realize just how big a feat it is. gathering up all we own and striking out for a new land makes us feel like abraham. looking out at the wide expanse of employment possibilities to meet our daily needs and future hopes makes us feel like moses and the israelites in the wilderness, looking to heaven for manna and quail to come raining on down. and anticipating our hopes to nurture community around ourselves in new, life-giving ways makes us hope for something like the experience of the early christians, whose love and affection for one another brought continual fellowship and generosity of spirit among one and all.

we truly hope and pray that God will show up and not leave us abandoned in all this exploration, that he will make his plans for us plain. some days i have greater faith in this than others. but new steps forward like this one serve to increase my faith because, in its own way, it's like holding up one side of a continual conversation. i wonder what God will say when it's his turn to share some thoughts?