Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Struggling in Seattle

I like Seattle. The weather isn't half as bad as you think. It's nice when it ought to be, in late spring and summer. And when it's shining, it's glorious. I've included a few photos of our backyard view, as proof. It's lovely. The mountains, the sound, the islands, the lakes, the trees.

Thanks to three cross country road trips, I've visited 45 states. (I still have North Dakota, Nebraska, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina left.) And while certain places may tie this area for physical beauty, I've never been anywhere that beats it outright.

Nice, right? But it doesn't feel like home. Even after six years. There are so many people, but I don't know any of them. Wherever I go I feel totally anonymous.

We live in a lovely and quiet neighborhood full of little old ladies, many of whom have lived in their homes since ours was built, in 1959. They've known each other forever, and they stick to themselves. They will wave, but only if I wave first. I like our neighborhood. Great views, great park, great beach access. It's great. But it's surrounded by... how shall I put this. With the exception of a few small neighborhoods, our town (a semi-urban suburb of Seattle) is not-so-great. Not such great schools. Not such great houses. Not such great safety. And to go elsewhere requires a freeway. Oh, how I hate freeways.

We only get one earthly life, and who knows how long our go-round will last? I just keep thinking, is this where we really want Nicknack to spend his one and only precious childhood?

I want him to have the roots I never had. A hometown.

And I guess I don't want him to be as lonely as I am.

I know it's my own fault. I've lived in six states in the past decade. I've attended one year of college. I've attended three different high schools. I've never stuck around anywhere long enough to cultivate real friendships.

And I'm a homebody. I've turned down oodles of invites (over the years) to stay home in my PJs, sit on the sofa, and watch tv with Penn. I signed up for the Junior League. But then I got intimidated and never went back. And even when I have made friends, here and elsewhere, I've let them fall away. I haven't kept in touch with work friends. I've never taken them up on their (half-hearted?) invites to lunch or for drinks. What would I do with the baby? What would I talk about, other than the baby?

So I exchange a few pleasant e-mails a year with sort of old kind of friends from places I have lived. One friend from high school. Two from college. A few from Connecticut. They're going to do a marathon. Going to wine and cheese parties. Going to Greece. Going back to law school. Going out on the town. I've changed so much since we were really friends. We hardly know each other. Now we're just acquaintances.

My favorite people (other than my mother, of course), the people I really keep in touch with, are my aunts and my mother's lifelong friends. The women who have known me since babyhood. I love these women. Their opinions matter to me. I could talk to them for hours and hours and hours. But none live in my town. Or even my state. They can't pop over. I don't see them at the grocery store. I can't wave to them at church. I can't meet them for lunch or head to Target with them.

I want something more for Nicknack. A place that he loves and feels loved, with people he knows and who know him. Long term friendships with peers. A home base. With lots of happy memories. And I guess I still want all that for myself, too. If it's not too late. And Penn! He doesn't have a friend to do guy stuff with. A Christian friend to talk to. All his old high school and college buddies have chosen a very different road in life. And besides, he's home in his sweatpants, with me!

So this is where we are. I feel kind of stuck. Is it wrong to want something different when we are so ridiculously blessed? How can we discern what God wants? Are these selfish desires? Are these shallow dreams for our son?

Should we, instead, focus on the old, "Bloom where you're planted?" concept? Surely God could do something with us here in Seattle. This is a largely unchurched corner of the world. The needs are great. Has God put us here for a specific purpose? Or are we free to leave?

I'm hoping the latter. But above all, I really do want to do what God wants me to do. I realize that this life is not my home and I have a hometown waiting for me in heaven. Complete with main street, harvest festival, church potlucks, and white Christmases. Maybe not literally. But you know what I mean.

I feel so conflicted about this right now. What do you think? I guess I just need to mull this over with God for a while. Thank you for listening!

(This photo was taken June 26, 2006; Nicknack was only about one month old. He was so LITTLE!)


JennaG said...

I used to live in Spokane, we loved it there. People there always referred to Seattle as "the other side". I will pray that God will give you peace about what you guys are to do and that he will give you a good friend there.
I am planning to post the recipes for ham pie and corn casserole soon. My computer is a little messed up and someone is coming to look at it tomorrow--so I may have to wait a little to post it.

Jamie said...

I think life is full of these questions and struggles. They also seem to get bigger once we bring kids into the picture. we want teh BEST for them and sometimes it doesn't look that appealing to us.

I like your blog and enjoy your honesty and all the glimpses into your life.

Thanks for sharing and I pray that God will impress on your heart exactly where he wants you. Seattle or somewhere new?

ginny said...

Thanks for your comment!

Your little one is precious :)

My only thought on this post is to pray, pray, pray. God will open doors that need to be opened and shut the ones that need to be shut. And, you will have a peace about His leading.

I know that lonely feeling that comes from living somewhere without close friends. I remember wanting to run up to other mommies at Target and beg them to be friends with us when we moved here. In the time we've lived here, God has blessed me with several Christian friends. I still don't feel settled here though. I believe we will move again and I will have to re-establish friendships. But, I try to enjoy all I can about today and not think/plan about tomorrow. Some days that is harder than others :)

AKat said...

Thanks for the comment. Your sunset/sunrise pics are gorgeous. And your family is too cute. I love little babies. You'll be another blog I'll visit and then want one. :) Anyway, I'm Anna, so nice to "meet" you. Keep up the writing, you're doing an excellent job!

Teri said...

Hi! Thanks for the comment on my blog. It is nice to know someone is actually reading it! I can relate to this post! I have the perfect solution for you...my town is a small, incredible "hometown"...you can move here and we can be instant friends. I am a SAHM too, love love love my label maker and literally could live in my pajamas. (Oh yeah, and the A&E version of Pride & Prejudice is THE BEST! I confess, I didn't even see the other one!) Anyway, I'll be back t your blog because I like your authenticity! Take care!

Susan said...

Your struggling post really touched my heart. I would suggest the same as most of the comments here...pray specifics...what does He want you to do? Assume you are to stay and ask Him to show you the way. Church? Maybe you're not at the church you need to be? Maybe your ministry IS to the little old ladies in your neighborhood? Maybe they don't know what to do with/say to a beautiful young SAHM? Ask God to open your eyes and heart to each and every opportunity...a wave and a smile might turn into a question/comment about the weather, gardening, etc. I'll be praying for you today! Hugs...

Michelle said...

those are beautiful views from your backyard - wow!

You sound like you've lived the life of a military brat/spouse with all the moving around :) I can understand what you mean about not having a place that really feels like "home" - I've never grown up in one particular hometown since my dad was in the Air Force and then I married in the Air Force. I often wonder where we'll settle after retirement because we don't have a "hometown" to go back to. Praying that God will let you know the answers to where you wants you to be!

Robin said...

I know exactly what you are talking about because I have been there too - when we lived in Kansas City. We lived there over three years and we only met one neighbor - just one. In the morning people's garage doors would open and you would see cars leave only to return in the afternoon and the door would shut again. That was it.
Maybe, just maybe God has planted a seed in your heart. Maybe change is on its way. Maybe the change will be in location or maybe the change will be in you. You are wise to spend time mulling it over with God. But I'm guessing there is something new on the horizon for you!

Diane J. said...

Thank you for your sweet comment on my new granddaughter! I see you have a delightful little one yourself. :-)

As to whether you should stay there or move on...God will clearly show you what to do if you pray about it.

Take care and feel free to visit again if you'd like.



Shelly said...

Thank you for the too sweet comment on my blog. You are just too precious! And I didn't know whether to 'awe' of the sunset pictures or the baby more! lol.

As for settling the issue of whether or not 'y'all' should be there, I agree in spirit with these other ladies: ask and pray!

Here is what came to mind:
Colossians 1:9-10 "...to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord..."
Acts 17:26 "...and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live."
Isn't it liberating to know that at least He knows! That He has a very specific plan, time, and purpose for your family. I trust Him to be clear to you as you seek Him in this decision.
PS - If I could share what I learned even more so recently in a similar 'big' decision, I had a tendency to want to know the 'plan' or 'what I needed to do' so badly that it became stressful! He tenderly removed my focus to just seek HIM more, and in so doing, He would light my path.

Alana said...

I have one word for you MOPS!!! Have you ever heard of it? It is an incredible Christian based ministry for Moms. It was a lifesaver for me when I moved to a new town far away from friends and family when my first baby was 4 WEEKS OLD! If there is one in your area, sign up and put yourself out there...you won't regret it! www.mops.org

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

Right now, I'm sitting here jealous of your pictures. My husband and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Pacific Northwest! And we have been saying we need to take a trip back to Seattle soon! But I know where you're coming from too. And I know that God will reveal His perfect plan for you!