We have been here just a little longer than a month.
A month which has felt like it has flown past on some levels and at others feels like a whole year has been lived. Each week that has gone past has left with differing undulations, joys, sorrows, pain, grief and wonder.
Right now it’s Friday afternoon, the boys are working away at some Minecraft adventure and I am sat trying to process in the cupboard that makes up mine and husbandface’s work space in our house.
I’m sat here trying to unfurl and process, typing away to try and make sense of our existence here. Trying to find what I need to keep on walking well through this land.
I can feel a sense of peace today, an acceptance of the place we find ourselves in, but that may not last, it may dissipate into despair and frustration in the next couple of hours.
Such is our world right now.
I sit here wanting to write about this tension, this strange place I find myself in, this narrative of consolations and desolations, this search for the path through the ups and downs, the storms and the swirls of life.
There is a way I could write about the last few weeks, the romance of adventure, the wonderful places we have visited, the incredible natural world we see all around, the new start, the easing into routines, the sunrises each morning, the love of our family, the constant seeing of those we were distant from for so long, the joy of being a safe place, the forages into local community, the knitting with the local village craft group, the traybakes we have eaten and loved, the sand dunes we have run down again and again, the birds I have seen on my morning walks, the journey out into the wilderness from all we have known and loved to discover what it is we know and love.
I could write of my amazing sister in law, her ways of love, her generosity and grace poured out on us, the delight we all have in her when she comes in the door, I could write of being able to get to know our nephew properly, not just dipping in and out of his life for a week in a year, already we have seen him more than we have ever done in his life. I could write of being able to be in their lives, the joys and wonder of everyday constant cup of tea relationship.
There is a nature memoir in me I am sure, there is a journey from city England to rural Northern Ireland, a journey into difference, a journey in learning how to be a stranger and how to come home. There is much to evoke in the telling and there is a way of writing which would elevate all these things.
And it wouldn’t be a lie, it would just be half the tale. It would be a tale worth telling a few years from now as we look back to the past and our adventure over here for.. who knows how long. It would be the tale we would tell as we reminisced on what we had done.
But right now we are also in the other side of the tale. The trenches of change and grief at what we have left behind. We are in the part where we have to work out how to put oil in our heating tank (hooray for family on hand to explain and help), work out why the local tescos doesn’t stock the same food we are used to, work out why cash is used so much, work out what people are saying to me and slow down to enable people to understand me.
We are in the inbetween friends stage, the not knowing where our wider community will be and if it will come in time. We are in the pain of watching our boys struggle and act out and we are in the pain of knowing there is no easy fix. We are in the exhaustion of full on parenting, not getting as much time off as we used to, we are in the strange world of change.
There is much to be said for being patient in the waiting as we journey through this new land, much to be said for accepting the exhaustion and going gentle with ourselves. We would love to connect with other people who express faith in similar ways to us, we would love to find friends, we would love to find a steady rhythm for our boys who have had their worlds turned upside-down. Meanwhile we wait.
I was deliberately glad we arrived in the dark of November. I like the journey from dark to light but each morning as dawn comes later and later I ache again for the light, for warmth, for ease of days. I wait for the morning though, I wait for the dawn, and I see that it will come again, I write about this waiting again and again because I need it to seep deep in my bones. Light will come. The long days of summer will be here again.
For now we hunker down. We go slow. We get up again and again each morning. I concentrate less on what our perfectly ordered life was meant to look like over here and accept that my youngest needs me more right now. I lean into peace, I long to take the snatches of time here and there to write, to finish my spiritual direction course well, to sleep and rest, to walk and wait and breathe in the beauty all around me.
I hold the tensions in my desolations and consolations, in my best of times and worst of times and all the times in-between. I gather myself again after each despairing day and look for the light. Advent helps. Emmanuel helps. I am not alone. I am seen, known and loved through it all. Onwards we go.