Big Changes, Big Grace: Life, Love and Switchbacks

My husband begins a new job at the beginning of February. For the first time, he’ll finally be in a position where he’s getting out, meeting new people, and leaving the office during the day. As someone who crawled under houses doing plumbing for a decade, then spent five years holed up in a corporate cubicle, he’s ready for the change.

Yet, as it goes with any new endeavor, we’ve had to make some adjustments as a family to prepare for this switch. First, there’s the issue of a new vehicle. His tiny, two-door truck isn’t large enough to hold the sales supplies he’ll have to tote back and forth to trade shows. So, we’re looking at a bigger SUV, which comes with a bigger price tag. One recent Saturday, we drove the kids all around town to six different dealerships. I sat in the truck with them while he got out at each one. We played games and I tried to occupy them, but there are only so many times one can play “I Spy” without going just a little bit batty.

Even after all of that, we still didn’t find a good fit. So, we’re looking and price-checking and reading way too many issues of “Consumer Reports.” We’re also creating a new office space for him in our finished basement, since he’ll have the opportunity to work from home a few days each week. We’re tying up loose ends and breaking the news to family and friends and we’re ready to make this big transformation as a family.

Yet, if I’m being honest, I’m not taking the change quite as seamlessly as I’d hoped. One major reason? It’s coinciding with our decision to potentially sell our home and move into a family house a few miles away. We’ve always dreamed of owning land and a home off the road, and this will afford us that chance.

Yet, after I tucked the children in last night, I took a walk around the house in the dark. I saw the windowsill where I prop them to make pancakes in the morning. I saw the breakfast nook, where I sit until 2 a.m. doing my technical writing each night. I saw our beloved comfy couch, where we’ve had family movie nights, late night wine talks, and tons of early morning cartoons. I saw our master bedroom, where I’ve laid with my newborn babies in the early morning hours, the sunlight streaming in from the backyard field.

I can’t imagine leaving this tiny brick cottage on the side of the road. Yet, in my heart I know that the journey to a new home will be a rewarding and ultimately fulfilling one.

As a species, we’re hard-wired to reject big changes. We love our routines and the comfort of knowing what comes next. It’s simply not in our nature to run headfirst toward a major transformation, even one that we believe to be good. Still, we’re also not meant to sit stagnantly either. Time pulls us forward and babies grow up and houses begin to creak and unless we’re actively living alongside that growth, we risk missing some of the most beautiful and fruitful times of our lives.

So, I’m preparing myself, our family, and our home for these changes that await. My husband won’t be able to keep his beloved, long beard in his new job, so I suddenly find myself researching beard trimmer reviews in my spare time. I’m helping him pick out new ties and I’m learning how to iron dress slacks for the first time. I’m packing tiny boxes here and there of our household goods. I’m starting small, partially because we have the time, but mostly because I need to pace my heart. So, I’ll pack up a tea set one day, or maybe a framed picture the next. It’s not fast and it’s actually more painful than I thought, but it’s necessary progress.

That’s a funny phrase, isn’t it? Necessary progress. We push forward and change with the time because even amid our resistance we know it’s required. We’d all love to lounge in our bed all day while the world goes on around us, but we know we must get up, get dressed, and face the new morning.

And what a beautiful blessing it is to be able to do so. Even when it’s scary, or different, or feels a little crazy. We’re waking up, stretching, and greeting a new horizon. And I think I’m ready.