I’ve flown out of Nashville hundreds of times before, but this flight was different for so many reasons. It was a true departure without a return. A one way ticket to the next wild and uncertain season of my life. (In case you read last week’s “Bookends” post, this is the second bookend I was referencing).
Though it's only been a couple of months that we've known that the Bay Area would be our next stop, James and I have know for the last year that something was brewing inside of us, which might necessitate a move out of Nashville. I just can’t quite believe we are actually doing this.
During the first days of Blood:Water, Roger Parrott, president of Belhaven University, asked if we would rather be a motorboat or a sailboat. A motorboat gets you to your destination quickly but doesn’t require much skill. A sailboat requires teamwork to operate and sometimes you have to be willing to change direction or make other adjustments to find the wind.
That’s how I believe we are supposed to move in our personal lives, as well. We must remain fully surrendered to where the wind will take us, not where we want to force it. Sometimes the patterns of our sailboat don’t make sense; sometimes it feels like there is no wind at all. And sometimes the wind carries us somewhere we never saw coming. But if we fully surrender to and trust the wind, we are sailing exactly where we should be. That doesn’t mean we let go of the mast and say, “Good luck, hope we don’t capsize.” It means we work the boat and sail into the direction into which we are led.
After a lot of prayer and hard conversations, James, Jude, and I are setting sail to northern California. I have never been more grateful for living in a day and age where technology allows me to telecommute. I will still be involved in Blood:Water, visiting Nashville and Africa often, all the while promoting my memoir. But my day-to-day work will be done in The Golden State. James has accepted the principal role at the Skoll Foundation in Palo Alto. The job will (should be) less demanding than what he’s been leading over the last six years. The pace we have been running is simply unsustainable if we want to be healthy and present for each other and for our son. We need to catch our breath.
The leaving is not out of an inherent desire to leave. It is out of a hope that a new location in proximity to family, to the beautiful outdoors, and to occupations that won’t occupy the whole of us will help us build and develop the muscles of a whole person that have atrophied over the years. That our marriage can find its way back to adventure and romance amid the diapers and the logistics of toddlerhood. That to take some of the edge off 24/7 responsibilities and 100+ days of travel a year will help sustain us through this season so we can come out of it full and ready to take on the next big, audacious goal. That somehow we rest, even if just for a season.
That way when the wind blows again, we are ready to surrender and follow.
P.S. I'm sure I'll will be posting more about this transition and our new life in California. Stay tuned.