Thursday, August 25, 2005
Adventures in Moving
Sometime around Aug. 24 and 25 is the anniversary of our move to Kansas. Pardon me if I’m a little fuzzy on the dates -- I had other things on my mind at the time besides checking the calendar. The summer of 1986 was rather eventful in our family. Our son Sam was born on June 25, my paternal grandmother died about 4 days later and my father-in-law was in a serious car accident about 3 weeks after that. We lived in Illinois and, with four small children and one car, we just didn’t see how we could make the trip to Kansas. Then a couple more things happened: Bob’s dad took a turn for the worse and, the same day, Bob’s employer told him that he wouldn’t be needing Bob’s services much longer. It seemed that God wanted us to move to Kansas. Where I said I’d never live. (I’ve since learned not to say things like that.)
Let me hasten to add, I’m not blaming God for the turn of events that led to our move, only that he used them to nudge us in the direction he evidently wanted us to go. Bob’s parents had opened an antique shop and had a furniture refinishing business in a small town in north central Kansas, but with my father-in-law in the hospital, it was hard to keep things going. It was clear they needed family near them and Bob and I were it. (Bob has an older brother but he was stationed in Germany at the time.)
So by the end of August we packed most of our worldly possessions into my in-laws’ old Dodge cargo van and our 1973 Pontiac Bonneville so we could move to Kansas. I had baby Sam and two other kids in the car with me and Bob drove the van with one kid. We spent the night at my parents and then set off on what should have been a one-day trip. (I can make the drive from northeast Kansas to central Illinois in about 9 hours now.) We did not really comprehend how slow a trip can be, though, with four small children (ranging in age from 2 months to 7 years old) and a loaded van that wouldn’t average much more than 50 mph.
It soon became clear that Sam was not happy with the situation. I suppose he sensed the upheaval and reacted to it, or maybe he didn’t like riding in his car seat so much, or maybe it was the water Julia and Megan squirted on him. They were supposed to be giving him a bottle of water to drink while I drove, but he wasn’t having anything to do with bottles -- he wanted Mom and he wanted her about every hour and a half. So we stopped often and the day dragged on and on. It’s the longest trip we’ve ever taken across northern Missouri (I-70 would have taken us out of our way south, and we didn’t like the Interstate anyway, so it was two-lane roads all the way).
By about 9 or so that night we were exhausted, so we found a truck stop on the Missouri side of the Missouri River and “camped” for the night. Bob managed to rearrange stuff in the van a little so he and Megan and John could sleep on a mattress on top of the stuff in the van. I had Sam and Julia in the car with me. What I remember most about that night is truck fumes and mosquitoes. We got up early the next day and ate breakfast in the truck stop, then set off on the rest of our journey. That day seemed a little anti-climactic -- we made it to the town where Bob’s folks lived by noon I think. If I remember correctly, it was a cool, rainy day.
It wasn’t a particularly easy move for us -- Bob had been told he’d have a part-time job in addition to helping his parents, but that job fell through. We had no money, no jobs, no appliances and four little kids. It seems almost a cliché to say that God provided, but it’s true. And he’s continued to provide all through the last 19 years. Bob’s parents have since passed away, but Kansas is our home now. It's been a good place to live and work and raise our family. And it's been a good place to learn about relying on God.
Sometimes it's hard to see what God is doing when you're in the midst of it. I certainly wondered when God was going to clue me in on his plan when we set off on our adventure in moving. But the last 19 years have been a lesson in trust that I've slowly learned. With God, the journey is important. So when you find yourself on an adventure of God's choosing, maybe you'll remember my little adventure in moving and it will remind you that God is faithful.