There is a job hazard to being a preacher: Moving. I know, lots of jobs require picking up and resettling every few years, but it seems the lot of the preacher’s family is seldom to put down roots.
There are some ministry families that make it through their children’s school years without a move, but it doesn’t happen often. We have lived here for nine years now, an eternity for some churches. My children have friends, childhood memories, traditions, and shallow though they be, roots. It has been a blessing to stay in one home, one town, one church for most of the boys’ childhoods. It is an answered prayer.
After we lived here a year or so, I planted fruit trees. A sign of stability, permanence. I asked God to let us stay here at least until the children were out of school. I wanted them to experiece having a hometown, a place to call theirs. It seems God has answered that prayer.
But, it also seems, that the sense of permanence does not come with having been in a place for many years. Last week, I noticed an advertisement in a church paper for a minister in Ireland. Knowing my children love to “speak” in an Irish accent, I spontaneously and jokingly suggested we try for the job. The younger child was stunned.
“You mean we’re moving again?!”
Honestly, he has been here for all of his memory. What did he mean by AGAIN!?
And then it hit me. Perhaps we have not moved for nine years, but moving has always been a threat to our family. Several years ago we spoke with the boys about the possibility of moving if the church couldn’t afford to pay us any longer. The boys agreed to tighten their belts and stay put, but evidently they also put two and two together and knew that it might not last.
I’m sad that the black cloud of impermanence has burdened my children’s childhood, but perhaps it has also taught them a lesson. This world is not our home.
Enjoy the time you have, the friends you make, the memories and experiences and happinesses, but remember that you don’t belong here. We live in a hotel waiting for the day when the house will be ready.