Last night my husband Brian and I, along with our friend Peter, sat in the hotel room of a couple we know from living here in Colorado Springs. Adam and Lindsey Nubern made the crazy/amazing decision a year and a half ago to pack their belongings and begin traveling the world. They have since returned to the U.S. and are living/traveling out of their beloved camper van (read more on their “Nuventures” here http://nuventuretravels.com/). Their short time in town meant their hotel room was our best option for getting to see them. We sat listening to stories of how they connected with various people across the globe, such as another traveling couple they met via social media and how they chose to rendezvous in Vietnam to officially meet each other. It was truly inspiring listening to how creative they were in the ways they pursued people, experiences, community, and, of course, bill paying. At the end of the night we said our goodbyes and wished them safe travels for their early morning departure.
I remember meeting Adam and Lindsey for the first time, just days before their world travels began. We sat in a booth in the back of an Old Chicago’s listening to their detailed plans for travel and adventure. I remember driving home with Brian that night and both of us wishing for what the Nubern’s were about to experience. At that point, we had recently returned to the U.S. after a short stint living in Haiti and still had the cravings for travel. We were envious of their freedom and ability to simply pack up and leave. That was the type of lifestyle we yearned for at that point in our lives and our marriage.
Back in the car on our drive home from the Nubern’s hotel, Brian and I couldn’t help but notice the glaring contrast of their lifestyle to ours. As Adam and Lindsey discussed plans for transient living, Brian and I shared how we were beginning the process of buying our first home. It still seems strange to say that out loud…buying our first home. This stage has been something we have been resistant to since before we were married. We’ve often talked of our distaste for the “American Dream” and all it entails. We’ve vowed to live a different lifestyle, one that wouldn’t follow the smoothed path. We’ve struggled with seeing Christ amidst the material whirlwind of the American Dream and said we would choose something different, something more simplistic. Yet it seems we are following the path we vowed against and my desire for both a rooted and a roaming lifestyle leaves me conflicted and unsure. I look at the various aspects of each lifestyle and wonder which is more Christ-like…settling or non-conformity? The irony in my opposed desires is when we lived in Haiti I craved stability, but when we moved back to the U.S. I craved mobility. The concept of the grass being greener had never been more prominent in my life.
Our decision to pursue roots and purchase a home here has not come without much prayer, discussion, more prayer, trepidation, and finally…peace.
Reality is not that grass is greener on the other side, but grass is greener where you water it, invest in it, toil over it, sweat for it, and care for it. This is the recipe needed to bloom where you are planted.
Reality is also not that one lifestyle is more Christ-like over another. Reality is the lifestyle most Christ-like is the one most Christ-centered and Christ-focused.
The “where” is irrelevant if the “why” is Jesus.
We did once have the desire to be more nomadic and without attached strings, but now God is preparing us for something different. Our desires have shifted and our dreams more and more include having the ability to say “yes” to those who have been rejected. We desire to have a space that allows us to open our doors to the “stranger or sojourner” (Leviticus 25:35), to the “alien, the orphan, and the widow” (Deuteronomy 14:29), and to the foster child who is yearning to be shown love. Our desires may someday change and we again may be choosing to take on a more rootless lifestyle, but for now we are choosing to be present in this city and be invested where we are and with the people immediately around us. So when we finally have the house God has planned for us we will be ready to water the grass and grow deep roots and we’ll trust the “where” isn’t as important as the “why”.