Backstory

NateOrdinarily a story has a beginning, middle and an end. But some stories take decades to unfold, so much so that the beginning sometimes fades into a distant memory. Such is the backstory with our recent decision to relocate from California to North Carolina. One would like to say it began Christmas morning last year, but in reality it began twenty-five years earlier. After living in Europe for five years in the mid to late 70’s, and experiencing three international moves, my husband and I thought perhaps we had one more major move in us. We went to Kenya in 1988 on a three-week medical mission to Tenwek Hospital, ten very rural hours north of Nairobi. Both of us had skills and gifts well used in a mission setting, but the overwhelming message we received from God was, “I don’t thinnnnnk soooo!” So we returned home and immersed ourselves in a variety of ministries that have been infinitely enriching for us, and we hope helpful to others.

But on Christmas morning last December, when the adults had gone downstairs to fortify themselves with coffee before the kids came down to open presents, 11 year old Nate groused to his mother, “Why does Grandma get to go downstairs? … She’s a kid … just in an old body.” Of course we all laughed, but my initial reaction to one of the best compliments I’ve ever received was, ” I’ve gotta go live with that kid!” I don’t know about you, but over the years any number of times I’ve experienced something unexpected, or┬áread something, or someone has said something to me, even casually, that has been a game changer, a bold, underscored, italic message that created a life altering shift. Well, that’s how Nate’s cute comment registered with me.

While we’ve been practicing downsizing for nearly a year, neither my husband nor I had any immediate intention of moving from the community where I was born where we suffer near perfect weather. But a few days after returning from our holiday visit with our daughter’s family, I ventured, over dinner, whether my husband had ever thought about moving to Raleigh. His answered, “Yes.” That was the sum total of our conversation about moving from California to North Carolina! It was as if the all the tumblers in a lock’s mechanism had suddenly clicked into place opening the door for one more major move, a move that had been unceremoniously closed twenty-five years earlier. While there is excitement, anxiousness, and on occasion a bit of apprehension, we are, and remain, peacefully centered about our decision.

The painting above was started a few years ago and is yet unfinished. Its backstory celebrates Nate as a world traveler. He was born in Korea, came to live with his adopted family in Kentucky. Moved to Frankfurt, Germany and then to Shanghai, China. Most recently, he lives in a beautiful suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina. I’ll probably add some additional imagery to represent the story of that move, as well as celebrate our own. We have a beginning. We’re working on the middle. Who knows exactly how it will end. Only God knows. And we’re good with that.

If you’ve experienced something, or someone’s said something, or you’ve read something that was a game changer that created a life alerting shift, what was it? If you’ve had an “out of the mouth of babes” experience, what was it? If you have a backstory to an important change in your life, what is it? If you were to create an art piece to celebrate that backstory, what would it look like?

1 comment to Backstory

  • We will miss you and Robert. I am so thankful for your friendship, ministry and manner in which you demonstrate Christ. Glad you’ll family have more of all of that.

    No worries, about the weather, we’ll keep it near perfect for the times you visit :>)

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