This will be my 31st move.
When I moved back to Doha, as I sighed and packed boxes, I took a few minutes to sit down and count them up. 31 moves. A lifetime of changing houses . . .
Until I get to the new location, I am caught up in the crushing details of moving – decisions on what to take, what to leave and to whom, closing accounts, opening accounts, blah blah blah. It can be overwhelming. I always think about that old joke about “how do you eat an elephant?” and the answer is “one bite at a time.” It’s the same with moving. Don’t look at the big picture, just keep moving, one detail at a time, and it all works out.
But when I get there, I wonder who will be my friends? It can be a lonely 6 months to a year while waiting for the right friends to come along. I make friends easily, but the ones who are going to stick, those tried and true friends – it takes a while to figure out who those are going to be.
We are lucky this time, we have family waiting for us. Our son is already educating us on how to pronounce local streets and areas (No, Mom, not “Sehr-vahn’-teys” as the Spanish would say it, but “Sir-van’tees”, not “Tex’-are” but “Te-har”, LOL) and what attitudes and perceptions we might best keep to ourselves if we want to get along.
We want to get along. Ironically, moving back to our own country is more daunting than moving to another expat community. The expat communities are relatively open and fluid, people coming and going all the time, willing to accept new members and welcome them in. This move is going to be to a very different life and a very different community from that in which we have lived the last thirty something years . . . God always sends me good friends. I just wonder who those friends will be?
Anxiety and me – we go a long way back.
I am greatly familiar with anxiety . . . it is almost genetic. Maybe I was born of a family of worriers, people who looked for all the worst possibilities, and then ruined a perfectly good day by focusing on things that might – or might not – ever happen.
Today’s reading from Forward Day by Day was just what I needed now, with a tiny newborn grandson who is coughing, and a house inspection which shows some things that need to be done, and a moving process about to take place, and an earth-shaking retirement . . . if you are the praying kind, I would ask for your prayers for peace of mind, strength in service and courage in the face of adversities and challenges.
FRIDAY, February 19
Philippians 4:1-9. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanks-giving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing…if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Anxiety is a kind of fear–not of God, but of the unknown future. It is unreality. We draw the unreal future into the present and proceed to stab ourselves with it.
How passionately Jesus strove to overcome our delusion of crossing bridges before we come to them! Imagine an able and loving father whose children ran about in panic lest next year they might not have food to eat or clothes to wear.
Anxiety is a symptom. The disease is mis¬trust of our heavenly Father. The cure is to look around and see what he has done for us already and to thank him for it. How many lovely things, how much to praise him for! If anything is needed, ask: and then leave it to God. If he doesn’t give it, so much the better. It wasn’t needed. What God always will give–if we trust him–is his peace, the best gift. (1946)
PRAY for the Diocese of Bath and Wells (Canterbury, England)
Ps 95 & 31 * 35; Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32; John 17:9-19