I am borrowing the title of this post from a chapter in a book I recently finished reading for the second time. As Jan and I carry out our final preparations to move from the Inland Empire of Southern California to the Texas Panhandle my emotions are conflicted and can be described in terms of a bright sadness. I am filled with anticipation and excitement to be near my daughter and two grandsons, but I am also overwhelmed with sadness to leave this place and the people I have come to love the past 32 years.
Jan tells me she is not surprised by my feelings because change has always been hard for me. When we left Cincinnati after one year of marriage and five years of youth ministry at Bridgetown I cried so much leaving the church parking lot I almost wrecked the U-Haul truck. Nine years later when we left the Philadelphia area with 3 year old Audrey and 7 month old Rob to move to California it wasn’t any easier.
Part of me wishes I could say it will be great to get out California, but to do so would be dishonest. I think it is far better to feel some grief when you move than just relief. The 32 years we have lived in Moreno Valley and our current house is the longest either of us has lived in the same place. Going through things, and deciding what to throw away, has been an emotional roller coaster. I have more Ohio State University Buckeyes and Dallas Cowboys shirts than any one person should own!
There is a lot I am going to miss, not the least of which is the weather. Beyond that I am going to miss playing golf all year round and especially the guys I play with. I am going to miss the opportunities I have had to guest preach and those churches. I am going to miss the wonderful privilege of teaching as an adjunct professor at Hope International University: the students, the faculty, the administration, and my boss, Joe Grana, Dean of the College of Biblical Studies. I am going to miss the many friends we have made the last 32 years. Most of all I am going to miss Rob, our 32 year old son.
On the other hand, there is much I am looking forward to–most of all being close to our 6 and 2 year old grandsons. Of course it will be nice to be around their mother, our daughter Audrey, as well; but I am more excited about Bobby and Ryan. Please don’t tell Audrey I said that!
My hope is to find ways to contribute whether as a volunteer or part time employee in ministry and teaching of some kind. I’ll be looking into both hospice and hospital chaplaincy, teaching, and church work. I also plan to continue to write a weekly blog, articles for periodicals, and maybe another Bible study book. (To receive email notification of my blog posts click follow at the top of the page and enter your email address.)
I love the image Bob Russell shared from Dr. Lewis Foster “that he looked at life in terms of chapters. There comes a time to close a chapter and move into a new chapter.” Right now Jan and I are closing one chapter of our lives and getting ready to begin a new chapter. I don’t know what God has in store for us, but I trust Him and am looking forward to it. We’ll have a new home, new neighbors, new friends, new opportunities, and much more. And we’ll make new memories!
As usual for me, at this point I am hurting more thinking about what I am losing than what I am about to gain. I’m dreading the drive to Texas by myself and know I will cry a lot. (Jan is going ahead of me; please pray for both of us as we travel.) Right now my bright sadness is sadder than it is bright. Soon, however, the brightness will outshine the sadness.
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Thanks to our daughter for the permission to use the photo of our youngest grandson.