I know it's been too long since I posted (if you roam around the internet you'll notice that a huge proportion of blog entries start that way...).
These past few weeks have been hard. So many people told us in the beginning that you get homesick all over again after six months or so, and I didn't believe a single one of them. As much as I missed my family and friends and house and town when we first got over here, I wasn't really all that homesick--I didn't have that chronic achy feeling where you don't feel like doing much and too many things make you sad. I didn't have that sense of joylessness or fear that homesickness breeds, not then.
I have it all now.
We had lunch with one of several new friends over here who are leaving this summer. Julie and I talked about how we were feeling, and this friend had some words of wisdom for us. When you first arrive, she said, there is a period of being welcomed--of being greeted and hosted as new people in the community. That certainly happened for us. The people of ACL were great at welcoming us, having us into their homes and offering help. One person took Julie to Costco on our third day here, which was a lifesaver, and we've experienced all kinds of helpful gestures since then that have helped us get started.
But after being welcomed, our friend said, the focus shifts from being hosted to making a life. Throughout this first six months we've lived as guests--keeping our relationships in California and hosting so many people from there that we put off making friends here. Now don't get me wrong--the visits from home were nothing short of miraculous in the way they injected life into our settling-in process. Just check any one of the posts below to see how much we enjoyed the family and friends who have been here. We have more on the way and we can't wait for them to get here.
Julie named the problem the other day--we have to give up some (not all) of our life as we new it in the States if we're ever going to make a life for ourselves here. More importantly, we have to shift our focus from home to this new place if we're ever going to be effective ministers here. That's an overwhelmingly sad thing for me right now--it's something that I don't want to do, even as I am more convinced than ever that it's exactly what our lives require right now.
In old police shows there was often a chase across rooftops. The cop would pursue the perp up the stairs and onto the roof, and at one point he would have to take a running leap from one building to the next. I compare our next step to that leap. In order for us to take the next step--in order for us to get our hands on the life God has led us to here in London--we have to jump off the life we've been living and onto the next one.
Right now, I'll confess, I feel like the slow-footed cop who makes the leap but doesn't quite make it across--you know the one, the guy who is hanging from the edge of the building and needs a hand to get back on safe ground. I need that hand. I need a reminder from God (or anyone) that this is where we're supposed to be. That we have something to offer--and learn--from our experience here in London and at this church. If you're idly looking for something to pray about, can I ask you for help on this?
I don't run nearly as fast as I used to.