Every journey has stages. Everyone starts somewhere and travels to somewhere else and sometimes we look back and wonder where we are and how we got here. Many of us are somewhere in the middle of the journey, having completed the basic stages of life like going to school, getting married, starting a family, and so on.
We are approaching the next stage of our journey and I’ve been looking back on the last eighteen months to see where we’ve been. These have not been easy months by any means, but by sticking together and applying huge amounts of gratitude and humility we’re getting on. I suppose we’re a little bit like the Children of Israel who escaped from Egypt to wander in the wilderness. We have many lessons to learn, just like they did!
Let me give a little background for those of you who don’t know us yet. I’ll try to give the short version!
In April of 2010 we put all of our belongings into storage and moved out of our townhouse. The rent was simply too expensive, as are many things in Marin County, California. Esbon still had his job, and I still had my eight hours a week at the Scout Shop, but we had nowhere to live. A friend graciously offered us her pool house for two months and we accepted.
In June we traveled to Oregon for a family wedding and a bit of much needed vacation. As summer continued we moved from housesitting gig to housesitting gig. Part of this time Esbon was in California alone, while the kids and I stayed with my mother in Portland. Much of the time we were all sharing one room, with the boys sleeping on the floor.
Our normal summer activities continued as planned. Bo went to summer camp with his Boy Scout troop. Jonathan went to Day Camp where Bo and I served on the staff. Before we knew it fall was on it’s way and it was time to start school again, and we still didn’t have a place to live.
A decision had to be made. It was about the hardest thing we’ve ever done as a family (so far), but we knew we couldn’t continue where we were. So we moved to Portland. My mother offered to put us up until we could find work and get our own place. It was hard to leave our friends, our Scout groups, and our jobs. (Perhaps the hardest thing to leave behind was the mild California weather!)
That was in September of 2010. Here we sit, in July of 2011, still in my mother’s apartment, still searching for right employment. Our efforts have turned towards building our own income, since the numerous companies Esbon interviewed with (and dozens more with whom he didn’t even get that far) weren’t interested.
The last year hasn’t been all bad. We have seen a lot more of my family (except for my brother who still lives in California, though we’ve seen him, too). The boys are in Scouts and continue to learn and grow. We’re still homeschooling. We can now help my sister once in awhile with her little ones. The sun peeks out from behind the clouds every so often, though not often enough for some!
And we think, and pray, and pray some more, that this wilderness stage of our journey is nearly over. The promised land seems to be before us and we can see progress ahead, and actual beds and bedrooms for the boys, and a place to call our own.
That’s where we’ve been. As our options and plans unfold over the next few weeks I’ll share some of what we learned, and are still learning, in the wilderness and more of what we hope to be doing in the next stage of our journey.