Settling in and taking over
Don’t be misled by the title. I humbly realize that it’s entirely (well not entirely) impossible for me to move in and have this whole municipality running in exactly the order I need it to run in order for my requirement for the smoothest transition time possible. No, I’m just talking about my home, or at the very least the dining room table.
For those of you who don’t know this (if you ever met me, talked to me for five minutes or volunteered for a project I was working on and didn’t figure it out, then I’d suggest you look honestly at your level of self-absorption because nothing could be more glaringly obvious), I’m sort of a control freak. Prior to attending a Sunday church service in Casper, I went ahead and joined a leadership series where I no doubt impressed all with my statement that I’m more of a dictator than a leader, just ask my kids.
My poor husband (I will continue to refer to him this way until I am fully sanctified or until death, whichever occurs first) had to move into the house we found in Casper two days before the kids and I arrived, and I only can imagine his anxiety about where to put his minimal groceries away. He experienced mock bachelorism for the previous 30 days, and his senses were not entirely there, if you ask me. To the left of the stove top, he put peanut butter and pretty much everything else, which was changed before the U-haul was even emptied.
And while it is important to have a functional kitchen, the take over I’m referring to is not at all aesthetic in nature. It’s the stuff behind closed doors that I’m just now grasping the reins on.
I packed our Montana house for more than two months, gradually accumulating boxes in place of furniture and activities for the children. However, I left the Wii out and told them to pack all their toys and the books they weren’t planning on reading before we moved. As a side note and a valuable piece of advice, I would recommend explaining this further to any 7-year-old to ensure he realized that this statement doesn’t mean he isn’t required to read because mine just thought it was all video game time for the final two weeks before the move. Anyway, big mistake.
Rules went out the window, and for the past 10 days, I’ve watched what I’m going to forever in my mind refer to as homarchy. Rules broken either because of the excitement of a new house or because of my dismissiveness for the month prior to the move include, but are not limited to: running in the house, hide-and-seek in the house, screaming in the house, talking to me through the bathroom door, playing video games or watching television before cleaning rooms, bedtime whenever the notion strikes, etc.
Three days after we moved in, I put a screeching (literally) halt to the talking to me through the bathroom door rule only to open the door and find the 10-year-old standing less than 2 inches from the door. Worse.
Just yesterday I stood on one side of the breakfast bar explaining not-so-sweetly to the children that the time for complete and utter chaos had come to a close and life was back on (although I’m sure they think of it more as an end, and that could have been because somewhere in my statement I may have used the words “It stops now!”). In reality, I caused this. By relaxing the rules, even temporarily, and delaying the onset of structure in their lives in an attempt to allow an “adjustment period,” I had created my own meltdown.
Honestly, the kids are adjusting much better than I am. After all, they only lived in Montana for a decade or less, depending on their ages. I lived there my entire 36 years, and as I told someone sitting behind me in church before I left (yes, during service), “It took me 36 years to make the four friends I have, and now I have to move!”
Which brings me to another point — one a little more somber. One person exclaimed the benefits of “starting over” and becoming that person I’d always wanted to be simply because of a location change. In a sense, I’ve done that. For instance, I’ve brushed my hair every day since I’ve been here, and I’m trying to never throw away leftovers. However, someone else once said, “No matter where you are, there you are.” But I don’t know if I really acknowledged who I was until I was confronted about how I tend to self degrade.
A dear, dear friend admonished me before I moved for calling myself “brash.” Her admonishment was gentle and loving and heartfelt to the point of tears. She re-explained to me the concept of transformation, and I’m so grateful that she did. I had excepted myself from this wonder of salvation. This big burden of brashness and stony coldness was one that I had continued to carry even after it was no longer true. My heart, although still mine, is in the possession of Jesus, my Savior, who changes it, sometimes a little valve at a time and sometimes a whole heaping atrium at a time. I’ve softened, and my friend said she would call me “hospitable.”
It was a shocking revelation to me that I made a positive impact on her and therefore others. And it made me think deeper into the concept of a new start. I’ve been given that blessing, and my only move toward a new beginning will be to accept that gift with a grateful and fervent heart. To drop who I thought I was and be who God made me. I probably still won’t live up to the expectations of the world, but I will make every move I see to glorify God with my behavior.