Monday, October 19, 2015

The paths we follow


When my husband and I first married, we moved to Virginia. The DC area. It was part of the deal when he proposed. I refused to move to his hometown--a town with one tiny grocery store and a population of maybe 400. Okay, maybe 500. Or less.

He re enlisted into the Marines. A career he just left. And didn't really like. That's how much he loved me.

Two years later, he got out. We moved back to PA to Scranton so he could go to school. Nothing against that place but the first thing I noticed was the trash along the roads. Our house was a duplex in an alley with our landlords right next to us. Polish. They screamed at people when they blocked the parking with garbage cans. Today my rental home is a condemned property.

Another two years passed and we moved an hour north to Tunkhannock as I was driving too far to my job. We rented another house that touted peeling wallpaper and woodburners. Our water froze in the toilet that first winter. We installed another woodburner. Built a back porch and hung fresh paper. Even adopted our first dog. Panda. A cat wandered by and I adopted him too.

Our life was forming. We were becoming adults.

And then I got pregnant. The dog went outside. We longed for our own place. We finally found land and after begging three banks to give us a chance, we secured our construction loan. After months of grueling work, we moved into our house on the hill that promised me a kitchen and cupboards someday. Plus carpeting and doors. But we loved it.

Now we felt grown up. We had a mortgage. Jobs. A child. A church.

What more could we want?

Evidently not what we had. I still remember the day. Fifteen years later, my husband stood at our bedroom window. "I can't take this cold weather."

And so it began. The search. The packing. The crying. The move to Florida. New beginnings. New friends. New schools. New jobs. New churches. Everything new again.

We adjusted. Were warm. Bought a beautiful home. Watched our only child move across the country away from us. Watched the recession choke Florida in its grip. Lost our careers. Lost friends. Grieved.

But grown ups don't give up. Even though we felt like children again.

We tried everything. Part time jobs we hated. School. New business. Cashed in our savings. Finally moved to Texas. Sold our home. Hated both choices--the job and the state.

 "I have to go home, " I told my husband. He loved me enough to agree.

So we made the long trip across the country back to PA. Now everything would be fine, or so we thought. It wasn't. I cried when I walked into our new rental. Was I twenty-one again? We stacked our boxes in the spare rooms. Prayed for strength. Prayed that God would once again see us through. Started building a house in that town I first refused to live in. Started a business. Hope sprang.

A year and a half later we worried we were going to starve. No work. Bills. Cold.

Then another opportunity. Florida. Again. The job my husband left years ago. Really God? Move again?

We left our half-finished home, packed the small UHAUL and made the trek to a rental we found online.

We couldn't give up. There was no other choice.

No one ever promised our path would be straight. What made us think that so long ago? Today I find myself dreaming about another return to PA, to my house, to another pet, to a slower lifestyle. To friends and family.

But I can't hack out my own path. I must just go with it as it opens before me. Climb when we need to climb. Swim, run and drag each other when we get weary.

And thank God we can do all of it.

What's your path look like today? Are you preparing for the twists that will come? Are you thanking God for the cleared path in front of you?











14 comments:

Lily Robinson said...

I am definitely preparing for the twists! I don't know where our downsizing plan will take us, but I trust God to show us where He wants us. I know that wherever we land, He will use us. That is enough for me.

And I still wonder why you're building a home in PA when 83 feels chilly to you! ;-)

judithpencek said...

I think the only way you are able to endure and thrive is you are leaning on God and each other. So many couples just bail out out on both. Praying for both of you my friend. You are a great example to me.

Kenda Turner said...

Wow, so many twists and turns in your life, Terri--but your faith is seeing you through. Thanks for sharing. Our forks in the road are different but like you I can look back and see God's hand in my life, and am thankful :-) Wishing you all the best as you continue to face hard decisions...

Merlesworld said...

You do move around a lot, I still live in the city I was born in, but that's another story.
Merle..............

Nicola said...

When the dark, winding routes appear, I try to look on the bright side - it's the scenic route, I tell myself. Hope your paths are brightly lit, Terri.

Ceil said...

Hi Terri! Yikes girl, I think you are the strongest person ever. You and your husband. You have had a lot of moves, a lot of hopes and new starts. It's so wonderful that you never gave up! I know I'd be in tears a LOT. I like stability (who doesn't?).

How is it going in Florida now? I hope you are feeling more settled. My path? Well, my dad is facing some health challenges, so my path will include helping him negotiate that. I'm facing some writing challenges, so I'll have to squeeze that in when I can. But it seems like nothing compared to yours. I truly hope that the Lord will allow you some peace and happiness in your new home.
Blessings,
Ceil

Saleslady371 said...

After reading this, I am super-charged! Oh, Terri, you are an amazing woman. Love your determination and life story. Thank you so much for sharing it. Bless you and your man as you look to the future and trust God for the next adventure.

Tom is recovering from a medical crisis. We are learning patience, waiting for his blood to build back up again after losing so much. Long, leisure days of resting together and taking life a little slower for a few weeks, but we're good and learning a heap of lessons!

Lin Floyd said...

life is what happens while you are making other plans....lol!

Deb Shucka said...

Holy cow! What a path. I loved reading this piece, seeing your adult path unfold, and seeing your faith hold through it all. Quite a contrast, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Retired English Teacher said...

You have written such an interesting summary of the paths you have followed. You have had a lot of twists and turns, but you have been up for the journey. I admire your determination to live a life that you have carved out for yourself. God has certainly been with you through this journey.

There was a time when I could not relate to the places you write about, but then my son moved to Scranton. Then, we went to Florida this past February. I think of you when I think of these places.

Certainly, Scranton represents a place where a turning place in my son's life took place. I went there a year ago to help him through some of the darkest days of his life, and of mine. At first, I hated that he was living there in a place that seemed so depressed and depressing. In time, I came to love the place. I don't think I could take the winters though.

In my heart of hearts, I know God will have you were He wants you so he can grow you and use you. You are an inspiration to me and to others. Keep on trusting Him and each other.

Susan said...

Terri, with all my heart I hope you can return to your "forever" home and enjoy fires in the winter, farmers markets in the summer, colored leaves and pumpkins in the fall and flowers of every color of the rainbow in the spring. Once that happens, never, ever more again. That's my prayer for you. Susan p.s. Have a wonderful time in Seattle!

Lynn said...

That is a lot of twists and turns! And your faith and strength shines through. It has just been in the past couple of years I have not had a clear focus on 'what's next.' I'd rather have a clear goal and go for it, but seem to not be able to stay as focused, or stay committed. I guess I could call this a desert experience!

Melissa Marsh said...

I never envisioned I would be where I am today. I applied to go to graduate school in Ireland; was rejected. Then I applied to go to the College of William and Mary; I forgot to include one letter of recommendation, but I never did send it in because I fell in love with my future husband. I did eventually go back to grad school when our daughter was two, and moved across the state. I'm still here and I'm pretty content, though we do plan to buy a house in the next year or so as we're living in a rental. There are times I wish I could live in England for a few months out of the year, but I doubt my husband would come with me. Yes, my life has turned out quite differently than I thought, but there have been tremendous blessings along the way along with a lot of challenges. Amazing how God works to mold us into who He wants us to be. :_

Aaron Baker said...

If winter comes , can spring be far behind?
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