First, we’re having another boy, and he’s due in September. Second, we’re moving to Los Angeles. We don’t know the exact timing, but we’re heading up there sometime in the next seven months or so. Third, I’ll be out of a job in six weeks as a director for San Diego InterVarsity.
Conception, location, and vocation. What else could possibly change?
And the transitions weighed down on me like a burlap sack full of black coal. First, I really loved the first seven years of my marriage. No kids. Eat out? Anytime. Movies? We’ll be there. Sleep in? Enjoy the snooze button. Life was good in no-kid-ville. Don’t get me wrong: Ice is a joy. But when he came into the world, my lover became a mother. And I became the help.
Second, L.A. is Nineveh to me. I grew up a Laker-hater. Plus, add lung-blackening smog, parking-lot traffic, and the expectation to drive 45 minutes to see friends, and it’s hard to think of a city that can be any more aggressively anti-community. Throw in materialism and rampant image-consciousness into the mix, and it seems to stand against everything I live for. I hate L.A. so much that though my wife hails from its South Bay, we drove down to San Diego when I proposed because I couldn’t stand to think of being engaged in L.A. See, I’ve got serious issues.
Third, I couldn’t dream. With my wife’s job lasting for only a year, I found myself again in limbo. I can’t live out a dream. I have to wait for another year — possibly two — before I can work for something longer term. I’ve often felt like a racehorse at the starting line, where the other gates have opened while mine has stalled shut. And now, I have to wait even longer.
Eyes downcast, it’s hard to stay upbeat.
But I’ve been called to let go of what isn’t real. The wife of my first seven years is no longer. She’s now a mother. A beautiful, tender, nothing-held-back kind of mother, the best kind that my son could ever have. I need to let the old wife pass away to embrace the wife I truly have. Because the wife I have, though different, is still the wife I desperately need and deeply adore. And L.A. may be Nineveh, but I can’t go to Tarshish. Sure, what place can be more idyllic than San Diego? But it will soon no longer my home. Instead, l’ll need to embrace my new home. (Though, rooting for the Lakers may take some time.) Besides, I hear the food can’t be beat. And my past director role — and all the identity that was wrapped up in it — needs to die, so I can embrace what will come next. Letting it go gives me an empty hand to grasp the new thing. And I want to make sure that I’ll be able to catch it when it comes by.
For Christians, Fridays always come before Sundays. Crosses are the way to crowns. And resurrection is always preceded by death. The two are never separated — in faith and in reality.
But perhaps we don’t give enough attention to Holy Saturday. Good Friday and Easter Sunday get a lot of attention in liturgical calendars, but many of us live in Holy Saturday: we know death has already come, and we wait to be reborn.