Leaving home. And finding it.

As our process of formal discernment transitions to formation for ministry, Ashley and I recognize that a chapter in our family’s life is closing.

Ashley is winding down her first year teaching, as I am winding down my law practice.  The kids are closing out their school years, and Bubba is completing his education to be a proper bird dog and apartment dweller.  All this with the logistical acrobatics of packing and moving a household across the country.  As we juggle boxes, storage units, and PODS, we are trying to balance the spiritual center of our family.

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Staying focussed on the call amidst the distractions of calendars and schedules and reservation numbers is no easy task. Surrendering control of our family’s future is not something that comes naturally to me, and it is only complicated by the practical need to plan and prepare for a smooth transition.  Keeping the family grounded is not easy when walking out of the comforts of home and into the unknown of a future with no permanent place to call home.

Yes, for three years of seminary we will have student housing in Alexandria, Virginia, but where will we “come home to” when school is out?  Not Alabama.  We will be nomads, living a transient life between two strange and different worlds: the seminary life in the D.C. suburbs, and the reservation life on the Dakota prairie.

The contrast between the life we have lived here in Montgomery these last 12 years and the life we will be living into between these two different worlds couldn’t be clearer.  Montgomery has been our family’s home for the past 12 years, and it is the only home I’ve ever known.  But as we prepare to say goodbye to friends and family, we are rethinking what home looks like.

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It is not four walls and a roof.  It is not a town, or even a place.  Home is people you care about. Home is community.  Home is a state a heart and a state of mind.

Bishop Kee Sloan once told me that the thing about an adventure is you never know where it will take you.  When we started this adventure over a year ago, we never would have guessed it would carry us away from our friends, our family, our home.  But as we prepare to begin the next chapter in our lives, Ashley and I are getting to know the wonderful people who will be joining us on our adventure, and we are beginning to understand that many of you will be sharing the road with us as well.

So, maybe this adventure isn’t actually taking us away from home.  Maybe it is just expanding our idea of what home actually looks like. And, for that we are grateful.

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