This is the third post in my midlife crisis series when my whole life was completely rearranged. After leaving an easy life, nice house, and good job, I took part-time jobs tutoring high school kids. I put much of my time and energy into reaching out to church kids who were in need of a heart-level relationship with God.
After I had been tutoring for a few years, many of my students graduated and moved away. Most of my older friends were married and too busy to spend much time with me. On top of all that, the pastors of my church had marginalized me and told me I could not lead in church activities — something to do with my same-sex attraction, I’m sure. As a result, I considered leaving my beloved east coast church of the last few decades.
I was single with no children, free from almost all responsibility, and I realized I could move anywhere in the country and totally start over if I wanted it.
The idea appealed to me the more I thought about it.
I heard about a fast-growing church in Seattle with many young, new believers in Christ who needed care and direction. I believed there might somehow be a place for me in meeting that need.
As I investigated the idea of a move, I found several Seattle job opportunities online. Also, I found an online Christian friend from that church who’d help me find a place to live with a group of guys also from that church. After praying, finding a job, and thinking about it for months, I packed up my 15-year-old Honda and drove 3,000 miles across the country to start my new life in Seattle.
I had never driven that way before, so I enjoyed seeing the vast farms of the upper Midwest. Many people might consider it boring to drive hundreds of miles through nothing but cornfields, then even further west through hundreds of miles of nothing but wheat fields.
To the contrary, I felt great beauty in those fields — not because of what I saw, but because of the unseen story behind them. They are literally the provision of God for a nation and world that might otherwise be starving.
Many starving people in history and in other parts of the world would be amazed at the sight of this much food! Many here in the U.S. live their whole lives never worrying about eating enough, but such widespread availability of food is almost unprecedented in history!
As I drove further west, I was amazed at the sparsely populated, wide-open land in the valleys of Montana and Wyoming. I read that the population there is actually less now than when the first non-natives first saw this land almost 200 years ago.
After crossing the high desert of eastern Washington, I saw the Cascade Mountains in front of me and knew I was almost home. The Douglas fir trees on the mountains stood out against the rocky soil, giving them a stunningly rugged beauty I hadn’t seen anywhere else. I had to fight fear crossing Snoqualmie Pass toward Seattle. The highway was steep with sharp turns and only flimsy guardrails between me and the 1,000-foot drop!
And so I arrived in my new home with a new church, a new job, and a new place to live — all arranged online. Things had come together so well, I knew God had provided it all!
And there will be much to tell about my new life in Seattle . . .
Have you ever moved far away and started a new life? What happened in your old life, and what happened in your new life? Would you do it again?
This makes me want to take a road trip across the country!
I’ve never moved far away on my own. The closest I’ve been is going to Tokyo on a study abroad program for 4 months. I remember going into the airplane lavatory somewhere over Alaska and crying for a bit. I don’t think it was fear or sorrow or joy, I think I was just emotionally overwhelmed by the distance, and knowing that whatever awaited me was my new life (for a few months). Packing up and moving like that is such a big change!
Yes, if you can ever take a cross country road trip, do it. It will help you feel the bigness of this world and make you amazed at how God cares for your small part of it!
Oh, I felt scared and probably cried, but the eager anticipation of the adventures awaiting me motivated me to look beyond my fear and press forward!
Was reminded of my own cross-country move from Georgia to California many years ago, feeling many of those same feelings as I crossed the entire continent. It’s an amazing place to be where we’re unencumbered by other responsibilities and can simply go wherever we feel God leading us. I don’t know a whole lot from your Seattle chapters, Marshall, so I look forward to learning more! I’m convinced I’ll live in that city one day.
I’ve never driven far at all, but I have taken the train across the country (and Canada too) a number of times. Great scenery and I didn’t have to think about driving etc. Been to Seattle several times…it is a lovely part of the country for sure! Neat to think and know God is with us, having promised “Lo I with you always, even to the end of the world!”
God definitely kept that promise to be with me! He took care of so many things that were outside of my control.
I do have a few Seattle stories to tell. I am still happy I took that step and grateful for all I learned and the ways God took care of me.
Actually I also remember when you decided to move to California from your parents’ house. I gave you the advice that you should do it, largely because of my own experiences moving across the country.
I have done this more times than I can count. Some big moves, others short but they all uprooted me and provided me with new directions and possibilities in my life. The fundamental thing for me was said to me by an old Cistercian monk I met 35 years ago: “you can find and be with the Lord anywhere.” This is an opportunity to let go and find Our Lord in your life in a new way. He is purifying you, your will and your heart from distractions so that He can make you totally His child as you were meant to be from all eternity. I am sure you will find new joys, surprises and crosses where He has placed you but all to His great purpose. God bless you brother!