A YEAR LATER

This week marks one year since I loaded up my car, played golf the last time with three of my friends I had been playing with for years, and headed to Amarillo to join my wife who had left a week earlier. I had shed tears earlier in the morning when I left my son, but I was able to hold them off when I said good-by to my golfing partners until I got to the car and left the course.

My drive from Southern California to the Texas Panhandle was the longest and loneliest of my life. I checked into a Holiday Inn after 10 hours of driving, but it took a long time to finally go to sleep. The six hour drive the next day was a little easier, but my emotions were still up and down. The warm welcome from Jan, my daughter, our two grandsons, their dog, and our dog was comforting.

A year later I still miss a lot about Southern California. I miss our house and neighborhood of 32 years, I miss our many friends (especially those from Discovery Christian Church), I miss guest preaching (especially at New Day Christian Church and Westwood Hills Christian Church), I miss teaching at Hope International University and the wonderful people there, I miss the great variety of golf courses, and I miss In-N-Out Burger.

But we have adjusted and adapted to our new location and Amarillo is now our home. While I have made quite a few friends and enjoy our new house, we have not yet connected with people in our neighborhood. I regularly play golf with several guys—and year round even though it is often windy and is cold in the winter. I thoroughly enjoy my two part time jobs as the Bible teacher at Amarillo High School (dual credit with Amarillo College) and the Pastor to Senior Adults at Washington Avenue Christian Church. Jan and I both love our new church—the people and the staff. Not that there were not similar people in our previous places and churches, but we have met some wonderfully gracious and generous people in our new church and city.

The best and most fulfilling thing about our move last year is the opportunity and privilege to be near our daughter and fully engaged with our two grandsons. We enjoyed Christmas last year and both boys’ birthdays this year. On school days Jan picks up our three year from preschool and I pick up our second grader. A special bonus for me this past summer was being an assistant coach for our second grader’s baseball team.

Last year, the week before I left, my blog post was entitled A Bright Sadness. In that post I wrote “at this point I am hurting more thinking about what I am losing than what I am about to gain. Right now my bright sadness is sadder than it is bright. Soon, however, the brightness will outshine the sadness.” (You can read that post here https://bobmmink.com/2016/12/05/a-bright-sadness/)

One year later I am confident our move was the right decision. The brightness today does outshine the sadness of when we left California a year ago.

Please feel to leave a comment below (or email me at bobmmink@gmail.com) and/or share this post on Facebook or other social media.

 

 

 

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ARE WE THERE YET?

Although the title question of this post is usually asked when traveling somewhere by car, it can also be asked in a variety of situations and circumstances. In early December I wrote about Jan’s and my move from Southern California to the Texas Panhandle under the title “A Bright Sadness.” She left a couple of weeks ahead of me and as I packed my car to drive from Moreno Valley to Texas I concluded my thoughts: “Right now my bright sadness is sadder than it is bright. Soon, however, the brightness will outshine the sadness.” After almost three months I’m asking myself, “Are we there yet?” The short answer is “Not yet, but we’re making progress.”

I have been overwhelmed by the welcome and warmth of so many of the people we have met. It seems like everyone we meet is cordial and interested in us. I’ve never been addressed as “honey” so often in my life. One lady two weeks ago actually called me “sugar.” I think the last person who called me that was my mom many years ago. When we walk the dogs we almost always see people we greet by name and who greet us by name. I joined Gold’s Gym and a racquetball league and the guys have all been friendly. I have yet to win a game, but after each match the guy who beat me has given me a free lesson!

I’ve played golf a few times and joined up with others a couple of times, but have not yet found any regulars with whom I can play. I hope to connect with a couple of the guys I play racquetball with and return the favor in golf they have shown me in racquetball. As so many told me ahead of time, the real drawback for golf here is the wind. I did join single players on two occasions and exchanged contact info with them. The one sent me an email saying I was “a hoot to play with.” The other, who is 79, told me to call him if I was willing to play with someone that old. I am and I will.

All the churches we have visited have welcomed us with open arms and we have officially become members at one. I am looking forward to the opportunity to preach in a couple of weeks as all the preaching pastors will be gone on a Mexico mission trip. I believe this church is going to be a great place for Jan and me to worship, serve, and fellowship.

I do have a gentleman I would call my best friend in Amarillo. And he truly is a gentleman. We connected over three years ago when Jan and I first started thinking about relocating to Amarillo. Over the course of those three years we stayed in touch and since arriving he has been a great help and friend to me. He is a man of faith, we are about the same age, and so far, he is the only person I have been able to beat in racquetball!

I am still exploring potential opportunities for part time work that will allow me to serve in ministry in some way, but nothing yet has solidified. I am not, however, discouraged.

The brightest aspect of our move, of course, has been the opportunity to live with our daughter and two grandsons and help take care of them.  Jan and I stayed home with the little guy (age 3) sick last Tuesday and I stayed home with the big guy (age 6) sick last Thursday. I have rug burns on both knees and elbows. We move into our own house in a couple of weeks, but we will stay deeply involved and closely connected with them.

We have transferred our cars and put Texas tags on them, but we cannot get Texas driver’s licenses until we have utility bills. We still grieve the passing of our cat, but our dog, Macy, is doing great playing with her new friend Leonard (Audrey’s dog). I am looking forward to a return to Southern California for a visit in late April or May.

I think people ask the question “Are we there yet?” because they have unrealistic expectations with regard to how long it will take to get to where they are going. And those unrealistic expectations result in impatience which makes the trip even more frustrating. It would probably be helpful if we tried to enjoy the trip itself. Jan and I have not fully arrived, but we are making good progress—and we will get there.

(If you have not read the post “A Bright Sadness” you can do so at https://bobmmink.com/2016/12/05/a-bright-sadness/ )

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photo credit: iainmerchant <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/135123601@N08/32968356026″>Road Trip!</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;