Ask yourself this: if you were to write a list of four and only four things you think you'd need as an individual to function before moving to a brand new place, what would make the cut? I get the feeling that your list would look a lot like mine:
1. A place to stay
2. A place to work
3. People I can tolerate
4. A church home
That pretty much covers it for me, in no particular order. And I don't mean to be vague. When I say a "place to stay" I don't mean that disease-ridden single mattress rotting away in the back of some dude's mobile home. I mean a place I can see as home, which is rough because home is such an abstract and overly-flaunted idea. Home switched places for me somewhere in my college years; I hated Texas at first but as the time went on I found myself missing it more whenever I left for breaks. In fact, I felt like I was withering away to nothingness in CA on breaks, wondering why the heck I'd left all of my friends and identity a thousand miles away.
Anyways, not to get overly introspective - I'm merely providing the framework for what my next several posts will consist of. I moved up here to Seattle without ever seeing the place or really having anything. I essentially got rid of everything I owned when I left Texas (fridge, microwave, dishes) and even more things when I was home for the summer (guitar amp, books, whatever I could sell). I came up here with an oversized TV, clothes, my musical instruments, several other odds-and-ends that I couldn't part with (mostly Bengals paraphernalia) and that's pretty much it. I didn't own a mattress, a can opener, or even a spoon.
So, how did I do it?
The striking thing is - I didn't do that much, at least not much more than what the average human with a desire to survive on this planet would do. I made a deal of sorts. I more or less said, "God, if you provide for me these 4 things, I'll do whatever it is you want me to do up here." Now to be fair, that is a short list but those are all huge things. You don't just uproot your life and thrust it into a corner of the world and hope everything fits together snugly.
But it did.
Don't get me wrong, there has been a fair share of speed bumps, slammed doors, and hiccups along the short way thus far - and that's putting it lightly - but bear in mind that I interrupted my own life while possessing a fair share of realism. As in, this whole excurscion/chapter could end up being a terrific failure, and I'd have to be alright with that.
Consider this: I went from one of the most religious and church-filled cities in America to what has consistently been rated in the top 5 most UNchurched cities in the nation in several surveys. As in, 73% of adults here do not identify with any form of Christianity (source).
From the first overly pro-homosexual bumper stickers I saw to the nudists I "ran" into at the lake, I knew this was going to be an honest-to-goodness upheaval of everything I was comfortable to. I was going to have to put down the rose-colored glasses I had been used to, take a bus across town, rent a bike, and book it to the next city over and get a new pair of spectacles with the wrong prescription.
And now that I've put them on, I don't want to take them off. This discomfort is comforting.
You see friends, here I am in Seattle after almost 3 months with a wonderful full time job, friends that I would die for, a church that I've been to every single week, and an apartment that I officially signed off on. I've never signed off on anything before, except documents agreeing to the sacrifice of small and irreplaceable parts of my soul (blame college). I left with no leads on any of these things, just an unrelenting sense of peace that I wouldn't have to go without them for long. Considering it took me years to complete this list in both TX and CA, I would say that this is a exceptionally good start.
Some of them came faster and smoother than others, that's for sure. I would like to tell you about how each of these things on the list were realized, so next time I'll start by talking about how I came to be at Calvary Chapel.
For now, it's time to take a dip in the indoor pool at the space station.