Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Gift of Proximity

 A little more than one year ago my husband and I traveled to Washington for a job interview with Microsoft. While at the airport waiting for our flight, we received a call from our realtor with an offer on our house. So, we looked at houses in King County and Bainbridge Island and found one we loved on the island: Remodelers paradise.

We bought it and moved up here on faith that a job for Kevin would come. The months have passed and a job has not yet materialized, but we have finally completed the writers’ retreat I envisioned:

A studio apartment with a great desk and a full kitchen where writers and would-be writers can get away from the distractions of everyday life and enjoy the space and place for creativity to flourish. (If you want to know more about staying here, visit my website.)

writers' retreat Ikea kitchen

writers' retreat suite
garden outside the writers' retreat

Now I have the privilege of seeing my long-commuting husband in our house all day every day, wearing pajamas until noon while he applies for employment online. I prepare our meals and afternoon nibbles on special plates, announcing, “Happy hour snacks are ready.”

And we are happy at five or six p.m. to six together in the dining room (or in the lovely summer and September weather on our rooftop deck) breaking from the tasks we’ve been pursuing around the house and yard, separately and together.

snacking on the rooftop deck

We are happy to eat cheese and gluten-free crackers, apples, and raspberries from our garden, pistachios, and maybe a glass of Washington wine, unoaked.  We talk about the weather and how rain and temperatures will affect our projects, whether we’ll work indoors or out, whether we can paint or not.

Part of me delights in Kevin’s unemployment and is reluctant to return him to the workforce, although he is certainly working hard on retrofitting our home. I am thankful for each project he can complete that’s not tacked on to a fifty or sixty-hour workweek.

At some point we will feel the financial pressure of unemployment as if a Rottweiler were standing on our chests. Right now it feels like (because it literally is) our seven-pound Bengal cat.

The only thing missing from our lives are good friends in close proximity.

We’re acquainted with a few neighbors, I know some women from the local writing community, and Kevin is in touch with his former coworkers and family, but there’s no one here who knows us well.

I remember that the other times I moved it took me two or three years to feel as though I’d developed roots in my new community. I am an introvert, mindful to extend myself, but I spend most of my time at home, remodeling the house and writing.

I’m thankful that Facebook and cell phones have made my transition easier than before. I also have appreciated praying with my prayer partner of nearly twenty years on the phone almost every week since I moved, sharing my life via crackly headsets.

I have learned to be content with my own company, and I haven’t been lonely, but sometimes I miss being with someone who truly knows me, a soul friend, if not an old friend.

So it comes as an incredible blessing and unmerited gift to find that my prayer partner and her husband will be moving to this region in less than two weeks, relocating in December, as I did last year, to Puget Sound.

Her husband has recently retired and they planned to leave California for a state without personal income tax. They thought it would be Nevada, but instead it will be Washington.

Soon, I will be able to drive thirty-five minutes through forests and fields, catching glimpses of seagulls and the sound, and arrive at her door.

How sweet and sacred it will be to pray side-by-side holding hands after months of uncomfortable earpieces and cellular static. What a treasure it will be to be physically present to this dear one who has sat and walked and listened and talked and prayed through every major event and decision in my life (and I in hers) for nearly two decades.
My prayer partner and I at Point White Dock on Bainbridge Island in February 

I never anticipated that we might be reunited, that instead of filling each other in on what is happening in our lives, we will be creating and exploring this region we will now both call home together, discovering where we fit in and how we can contribute to the physical, social, and spiritual environments we will inhabit.

That we will be able to praise, party, and pray together in person is nothing short of astounding. God’s grace is abundant everywhere and endless. As we ease toward Advent, I anticipate the new life that will be birthed. I celebrate this manifestation.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful review of your life and the blessings you find even while plans or dreams have been waylaid. As I wonder about "life-long"friends and soul mates, it's encouraging to hear how your prayer partner has relocated so near to you. I'm thrilled for you.