John Ortberg tells this story of playing a board game with his grandma and at the end of the game she waxes poetically about this truth, “It all goes back in the box.”* As our kids returned to their respective post- holiday lives, we sat amidst piles of dry pine needles and a coffee table covered with ornaments and packed up Christmas. We’ve all done it. Gone are those carefree, clueless days when we obliviously trotted back to school while someone else at home put Christmas away. It’s a bummer reality of January, dragging the tree out to the curb and staring at its lost glory, accentuated by all the other forlorn friends waiting for the mulch maker.
But this is 2019, the year of throwing things out and packing treasures back in the box for a new adventure, we are moving! Yes, we are leaving debt-dripping, tax-crippling Illinois for the pristine Wisconsin lakes. The main reason for this uprooting after 27 years in our french country cottage? The church which we’ve been nourished in for 21 of those years is planting a new church and we get to be a part of it! We’re already investing in flannel shirts and wool skirts, the ones they wear with patterned leggings and heavy tread construction boots. How does one describe this outward bound, earthy look? Our kids are calling our new home 221b Baker street because they say it looks like where Sherlock Holmes and Watson live, and a condo means — no more weeding!
Most people stare in shock and say, “How can you leave?” as if our corner of the world is paradise found. In many ways this green tree corridor of Dupage County is a paradise of a place to raise kids, but we’re nearly done with that process (you’re never really done), and the parents are longing for a new challenge and the joy of seeing God work in wondrous ways in new lands. There’s a cool pilgrim-explorer ethos about it, leaving the beloved and familiar for unchartered territory. Our hope is that we’ll love the one who’s leading us even more deeply and the people he puts around us with abandon. If we’re lucky we’ll also write some compelling stories, songs, poems and maybe even a mystery in 221b Baker Street. Stay tuned and if you’re dying for a French Country cottage with a red tile roof it goes on the market in March. Happy New Year!
- Found in John Ortberg’s book, When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box