All Settled In?
“So, are you feeling acclimated/settled/at home now?”
For the past three months, most folks have started a conversation with me by asking about my transition to St. Paul and life in Davenport. Often, I answer with some light-hearted joke about going from the Twin Cities to the Quad Cities and “doubling” my horizons. Other times, I prattle on a bit about my hiking adventures with my dog by the river, or I give a dramatic retelling of my learning to navigate all of these crazy one-way streets! Ultimately, I express my gratitude to the community of St. Paul for all of your support, grace, and encouragement. All of these responses and experiences are authentic and truthful.
However, rarely (if ever) do I wholly and vulnerably share how my acclimation process is really going. So, for the record, here it is:
Yes, I am feeling more and more at home, and it’s still hard some days.
Like I said, I am not quick to admit that to anyone, including myself. Instead, I like to live under the illusion that my logic can dictate my feelings. For example, “I see so many friendly faces, so I should never feel lonely”; “I have such excellent mentors, so I should catch on right away”; “I am 25 years old, so living independently should be a cool and carefree experience.” And even though I can recognize the flaws in this sort of thinking, I have struggled to overcome the idea that I ought to do better and feel better than I sometimes do.
This misguided line of reasoning is common, especially during times of change. Pastor Sara taught about that very phenomenon in her grief group last Sunday when she pointed out that emotions are neither right nor wrong, good nor bad. We may, for instance, find ourselves crying for seemingly no reason while doing a household chore, or we may find ourselves laughing during a funeral. And that’s ok, normal even. We are complex human beings, living in a wondrously complex world, made in the image of our infinitely complex God, and so our emotions are part of our complex authenticity.
While these levels of complexity and feeling are hard to conceptualize, let alone live, the good news is we can trust in God to see us through. As Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians: “[The Lord} said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses…for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” (12:9-10).
While I cannot say that I have ever felt moved to boast about my weaknesses or difficult emotions, I can certainly get behind Paul’s conclusion that God’s grace does and will carry me through. God is with me on the rollercoaster of emotions, through the ups and downs and loop-de-loops, and God is with you, too.
9 Comments on “All Settled In?”
Greetings from Jacksonville Florida. You don’t know me and may not ever meet me, but you have eloquently stated what many are fearful to. It doesn’t matter if you are 25 or 47, when change occurs & we’re away from our comfort zone , our known support system it’s scary and unsettling. Knowing God as we do, he certainly will carry us through those difficult times.
Amy, thank you for your kindness and empathy! I really do hope we get a chance to meet in person, but it is nice to know I friends in warm places 😉
I won’t pretend to know what your rollercoaster looks like, but I have a feeling that anyone with the courage to share so authentically will eventually finish this ride with a smile on their face, ready to try the next one. Welcome to the Quad Cities, all five of them.
Doug, thank you for your encouragement! You are right on all accounts, including the fact that there is more to the Quad Cities than meets the eye (and the name 😉 )
Thanks for sharing the “real” you! I’m a thinking person, too.
Welcome to the St. Paul Family.
Welcome to St. Paul’s. I read your post knowing that even though you are transitioning into this new church, you are doing so with your eyes wide open and with the confidence of your faith. I look forward to your assimilation into St. Paul’s.
Welcome to St Paul and change is never easy, no matter the change. I also rely on grace is sufficient for me and I get through the roller coaster of life with God’s grace. Thank you for sharing, thank you for coming to St Paul!
Megan. Welcome to Davenport Iowa but especially St. Paul’s. I grew up in Davenport, went to Central High School. Lived just north of Vandeer up until I was 22. Married and moved away from here around Illinois and Wisconsin for 45 years. Moved back here 2 years ago and believe me St. Paul is home. I pray you will enjoy your time here. God’s peace and love always. Linda