May 08, 2016

PCS Time Musings

In two short months, we'll be PCSing, which is military speak for moving to a new duty station for the sake of the soldier's job.

I love the adventure of living in a new place.  It means a new house to arrange, new surroundings to explore, new people to meet, new opportunities for activities and involvement we may not have tried before.  It suits me perfectly because when I was young, it was hard for me to pinpoint what I wanted to be when I grew up because many things interested me.

Inevitably, I meet the neatest people just before we move.  It happens every time.  That really stinks, because I know I'd really enjoy getting to know them better, but I won't have the chance.  But I don't avoid the opportunity to spend even a short time around them.  Even if I just meet a person for a day, I enjoy learning about them and learning from them.

The neat people I knew longer before we move are hard to leave.  I wish I could gather up all my favorite people from around the country and we could all live in the same place.  At least we hope to cross paths again, either by chance of assignment, or by a planned visit.

The people we serve with in ministry have a hard time letting us go.  We love serving in ministry, and we love the people who serve alongside us in volunteer positions as well as vocational positions.  Serving God's people is one of the best things about this adventure.  But I have learned that God's church is worldwide, and He takes care of it by bringing people to fill the gaps when some leave.  And if a gap is not filled, that ministry may be either not needed for a time, or the opening will inspire someone to step into it who otherwise may not have had the courage to step up.  We don't like to leave gaps, but we look ahead to filling gaps in the next place.

Anticipating a move is full of wonder and sometimes anxiety about whether the house we'll find will be in a good location and have good features that meet our family's needs.  Having lived in 8 places during our marriage so far, we have come to know our preferences.  We spend a lot of time looking at the floor plan of housing on post, and at rental listings off post, bookmarking our favorites, and imagining our furniture and selves in each one, trying to assess if it works or not.  We get excited when new listings come available and get disappointed when one of our favorites gets rented before we get a chance at it.  I told myself I would not be obsessed with the place we'll live, but that I'll trust God to provide us with just the right place.  I keep having to go back to that plan, because I tend toward obsessing and worrying.

I love going to the local library and finding books about the state we'll move to and let the kids read about it themselves, and see what they're excited about.  Websites and facebook pages get scoured for interesting restaurants, homeschool groups, PWOC and chapel events, sightseeing attractions, shopping we're accustomed to, farmer's market times and locations, activities and extracurricular activities for our children, and more.  We try to picture ourselves there, and find things to look forward to.

School needs to hurry up and finish so I can compile our records and be complete with that, then have time for a break before I get a new mailing address and have to order the next bunch of curriculum.

Sometimes it's a struggle for me not to detach from the place we are currently living, and the events and activities that are offered.  But getting involved in what's available here and now really helps the time go by more quickly, and gives us a chance to have closure in saying goodbye to the people we've enjoyed being around.

I don't dare buy more of anything than I can use up before the PCS date.  This time I started way too early in using up things in my pantry and freezer.  My cupboards were nearly bare before my latest shopping trip.  Now I'm stocked up for a couple weeks.  I have a mental and physical list of things I want to use up, sell, donate, and throw away before we move.  Everything else will need sorting and organizing.

So life for us right now is a mixed bag of anticipation and concern.  We don't like leaving, but we do like going.

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