I’m trying to figure out how we can leave our current circle of influence in a graceful and thoughtful manner. I don’t like it when people move away suddenly and leave a gap where it feels like they should be. I’m trying to guard against that with our departure.
First, I’m letting people know about our plans now–before we’ve found a house or job. It gives people time to get used to the idea and get excited about it with us. Warning people ahead of time also gives them a chance to get some closure. They may choose to capitalize on the remaining time that they have in our company, or they may choose to withdraw. Of course it’s painful when people withdraw before you’re gone, but that is how some people cope.
There are also those people who recognize that their relationship with you doesn’t have to be limited by physical location. They are more likely to be the ones to ask if you need help with anything, because they still see the relationship as a valuable thing to invest in. I’ve had a couple of friends come over and help me paint, another is going to help with the kitchen cabinets, and one of the teens has been saving moving boxes for me. I have really appreciated how they haven’t shut me out, but are going through this process of change with me. It means a lot when people can allow you to change and still love you.
Besides the aspect of closure/continuance in relationships, there are logistics to think of, too. There are the practical considerations, like finding a new doctor, locating the grocery store and post office, getting your mail forwarded. It’s tedious, but makes for a much smoother transition.
We’ve also had to think about how to go through this process with our kids. At first they were not happy about the move. They seem to be coming around more, perhaps because they’re seeing some of the good aspects. We’ve talked about what it was like for mommy and daddy to move when we were kids. We’ve also discussed in their presence why this isn’t the place for us anymore–because Mommy feels led to some kind of inner-city ministry, we need to find a place for their grandparents, we are serving as a crutch at our current church, etc.
That last one is tough, because who wants to point out faults in a church to their kids? At the same time, I’d like for our kids to keep their brains functioning when it comes to church matters, and be able to recognize when something is not quite right.
Our church is in such a place that they need a wake-up call. It’s time for them to decide if the children’s and youth ministries are important to them; if they’re willing to volunteer so that the church can function properly; what on earth their vision is. I know that when we go it will be rocky, because the church is highly dependent on my husband for worship and all things technical, and on me for children’s ministry (even though technically I stepped down from any official capacity). I’m also the only person from our church, besides the pastor and his wife, who volunteers in the youth ministry.
I don’t know what will happen when we’re gone, but I’m hoping that people will show some responsibility. If not, it’s going to get very ugly. If they do, I believe that those who step up will grow spiritually in a way that can’t be achieved by simply sitting in your chair on Sunday morning.
Anyhow, I will be interested to see where this leads. I hope that things will turn out for the better and that this will be seen as an opportunity for growth. We may be seen as the “bad guys” by some for leaving, but sometimes God’s way utilizes a tough-love approach. What’s best for us isn’t always nice, fluffy, and sugar-coated.