As I mentioned in my last post, my trip home from MTI was rather long and stressful. But, oh, it is good to be home! I loved the beauty and majesty of Colorado, but there is something about the Shenandoah Valley which is so… friendly. And not just because we have that southern hospitality going on!
The Blue Ridge mountains are closer and smaller, and compared to the imposing Rockies, almost gentle. Everything here is lush and green. The air itself is welcoming after the thin dryness out there. I went for a run on Saturday, and even though I was working hard, I was able to draw in deep breaths.
Of course, it’s a lot more humid here, too! Even in the A.C. I can feel the moisture in the air. And the weather here is as crazy as always. I started my run in sunshine and heat. About halfway through I heard thunder and looked up to see black clouds rolling in. I finished as big drops started to fall. The same thing happened yesterday. Living in our Valley means the weather is never boring!
Yesterday I Sabbathed. I spent time resting and reading. I finished a book I bought at SPLICE called The Gift of Being Yourself by David Brenner. It was excellent, and I recommend it for anyone struggling with who you are in Christ. As I’ve shared, that was definitely my biggest challenge while at MTI! I’ve still got a long way to go, but since it’s a lifelong process, I’m learning to be okay with it!
Today reality sets in again. The reality that I have less than two weeks to pack away anything I plan to store with friends, ship things to the D.R. for my three years there, pack for my three months in Guatemala, sell what I can of the rest, then donate the remaining stuff. Oh, yeah, also canceling things like utilities and my cell phone, signing up for insurance, final doctors’ appointments…
But, all of that is nothing compared to the real reality. In less than two weeks I need to say goodbye. Goodbye to the place I’ve lived for the past eight years. The place that has become home, the place I started to come home. Home to a relationship with Jesus, home to letting people see the true me.
On Saturday I went to Target and ran into a friend. Harrisonburg is a small enough place that I inevitably run into someone I know no matter where I go. Yeah, when all I want is a gallon of milk and I’ve just been on the stepmill at the gym it’s a little less than fun! But, it’s also a comfort to be a part of the place I live. It took me a long time to feel that way, and now I’m pulling up those roots.
One of the instructors at MTI mentioned that when you pull up a plant, it starts to die within six minutes. She said this in the context of talking about children and how essential it is to help them put down roots when they are moved. That’s not just true for kids (or plants!).
Here is another of the posters from my time at MTI. Check out the face on the flower in the ‘Pulling Up’ stage. You know how when you pull up a plant it can almost feels like you are tearing the roots? That’s kind of how I’m feeling right now. It hurts because I’ve put down deep roots here.
In Colorado I saw some tumbleweed. Those little shrubs that seem to have no roots at all, and just roll along, dry and pushed by whatever winds come. In some ways I envy tumbleweed. Barely scratching the surface, it can easily go from place to place, no attachments to get in the way. Of course, it also doesn’t seem to flower or bear any fruit!
So, while my temptation is to be like it, the truth is, I’m not made to be rootless. Living like tumbleweed is not living as I’ve been created. As I’ve shared, I had allowed the busyness of life to distract me from keeping a firm grip on Jesus. Not freeing, it was terrifying! As I leave this place I’ve got to stay attached to our True Vine.
I’ve also got to root myself in the lives of others. It’s not going to be easy for me, but I’m not doing it alone. Our Master Gardener knows the soil I’m heading to, and He is preparing it even now. What a comfort to know that as all my MTI friends head out, He is already there, getting the earth ready for their roots, too.
As I look out back at the green leaves of the big trees behind my little place, I remember Psalm 1. That’s my prayer. To be planted in the Living Water, so I can bear fruit in season. To do that, I need to leave this place and trust that before I begin to wither, God will provide new soil. He has abundantly provided in the past, and so I’m taking a deep breath of Valley air and submitting myself to the uprooting process.