Thursday, March 1, 2012

The reality of our new reality

Hello friends and family!

This is René by the way,

Just wanted to give you all an update as to what life is like up here in the northeast, and where my thoughts have been lately.

I really can't believe it, but today marks exactly two months that Jess and I have been in Pennsylvania. Exactly two months ago we said goodbye to our families, our friends, & our home. We said goodbye to our old hangout spots, the places we would go on dates together, our memory lanes & our Monterey county culture. Everything that I knew, my whole reality, was in California. And If I may be honest, I was deathly afraid I wasn't going to be able to get on that plane and leave it all behind.

The only real comfort was the thought that I wasn't going alone. I would constantly look over at Jess and see that she was going through all these emotions with me. She's going with me too, I would think. Which moved me to try and comfort her as we dealt with that very difficult day. I'd try my hardest to prevent those tears building up in her eyes from rolling down her face. I'd smile and tell her that we would be okay; but even I caught myself having to work at believing my own words. And when I couldn't keep the tears from falling, I sometimes would join in. But at least we were together. She was the only piece of my California that was going with me. And I was hers. Every other aspect of life would have to change and mold to something else.

Fast forward two months from that day, and you'll find me sitting in an office, learning the ropes of a church called LCBC. Jess is found in our new apartment, either updating this blog, unpacking boxes, editing photos, or cuddling with our new cat Atticus (yes, like the character in to To Kill a Mockingbird).

Although we've gone through these last few months together, I'm certain that we've had completely different experiences and encounters here. I think that just comes with the territory of having one spouse working full time and the other not.

But there are things we've experienced alike. I know for me, and I think Jess too, two months have seemed like two weeks. February seemed to be nothing but a sign along the freeway, and I was going 70 MPH. We made eye contact, then it was gone.

So where am I now? Well, I could make this post very long and go into vast resources of thoughts on many of my experiences so far. But to continue with the theme of this post, I'll simply say moving is hard. I don't think it's possible to fully prepare for a move across the country if one has never done it. I know I thought I was, but I wasn't.

Believe it or not, but the easiest adjustment was the physical move. Although moving an entire house isn't easy, it's probably the easiest to put in place when compared to the mental life, and spiritual life. I've adjusted to the time zone. Yes it's cold, but thankfully there are scarves, teas, coffee, and the concept of layering clothing to keep me warm. A cold house is fixed with heaters and blankets. And the deprivation of authentic Mexican food (which is ridiculously hard to deal with!) can be fixed by making it yourself. The winter here is very dry, but I drink lots of water so my voice is fine.

Mentally however, I'm not nearly as content. Let me explain like this. Imagine your entire life is in the shape of cup. This cup represents the capacity of what your life can hold in the sense of time; relationships, God, work, hobbies, sleeping, friends, etc.. Whatever you devote time to in your life goes in this cup. However, your cup can overfill and spill; this is when you realize there is too much going on. This leads to possible burnout, exhaustion, and fatigue -physically, mentally, & spiritually; so we cut things, or people out in order to stay sane.

In California, my cup and Jess's was almost full. We had plenty of relationships in there, a great church with church activities, family & events, hobbies, and many close friends who go years back. And to be honest, there wasn't much room in our cup, or life, for many other genuine relationships. I could probably squeeze in a few hangouts once a month with people, but most my time was already taken by someone else, or something else.

Well, in Pennsylvania our cup is much much closer to being empty than it is to being half-full. We have a great church, we have a cat, we have a few T.V. shows we watch, and we've met some great people; some of whom we think have the possibility of being friends.
But it's the genuine relationships that we feel we're still missing.

You see, people here are like how we were in California. Their cup, their relational capacity, for most, is already full. They have full-time jobs, and families (which can already be enough to fill a life). They have the best friends that they've had for years. They have family they're with on holidays. They have their hobbies and things they do for fun, and the people go along with them. Their lives are already set. If they were to allow Jess and I to take space in their lives, for most, their cup would overfill. Simply because they don't have room (or time) in their lives without having to cut out something else.

I don't hold it against them. I know when I was in their place in California I was the same way. When I was at FPC, there would be people who would pursue a genuine relationship with me. But for most, I couldn't fit them into my life. I already had the relationships that revolved around music. The friends who I'd call for game nights. The people who I would catch up with over lunch. And those who I would call every other day to come over. If someone new tried to squeeze in, most of the time they wouldn't fit, or would have to take the slot of time & space that someone else previously had. Oh how complicated relationships are!

So here we are. Searching to fill the voids in our relational life. Trying to find not just people who have time, but people who should have relationships with us and us with them. People don't just become great friends because they have time, they need to have things in common, mutual perspectives, and mutual things going on in life. Otherwise it just takes more time and effort in order to relate to the other person. The good news is, I have Jess, and she has me, and that goes a long way. It's forced us to get along better, communicate better, and simply have more fun together, even if we have to compromise with each other for what "fun" is.

I know this is a failed attempt at making a short post, but it's where my heart has been lately. I think for both of us.

But how do you relate to this? Are you also searching for people to do life with? Who go beyond being being an acquaintance? Someone to share things in life with that make you smile, cry, and laugh? If not, do you realize how blessed you are to have those people? I would encourage you to let them know how much you value having them in your life (yes even if it's nothing but a bunch of dudes who do manly things together). Everyone longs to be valued and appreciated. And If you have the time in your life, would you try giving some of it to someone who possibly has too much of it to themselves? who may not have what you have?

As far as the spiritual transition goes, I'll set that aside for another post.

If you wouldn't mind, would you pray for Jess and I? That we would find people here to help make this place our new home. I know we'd appreciate it. 


Elsa Velarde said...

My dear Son,

Your words are so beautiful and we understand how you feel because Papá and I miss You and Jess like you can't even imagine! But, we also know that God is a God of comfort too.

You and Jess are in our daily prayers.
We pray for both of you... and many times a day.

I love you so, so much! That you are the one third piece of my heart that is missing! The Dr. says, that he doesn't understand how can I still be alive! Well, I told him that it's because Jesus has my whole heart in His hand!

You both are so precious; God will provide You and Jess with great new friends that will make Pennsylvania to be like a 2nd home; Nothing replaces your 1st home!:) God is using you there because He needs you to do His work in Pennsylvania. We are very grateful to God on how you are making a difference and being a blessing to others there!

You did make a BIG difference, and a HUGE blessing to your ♥family and friends♥ here in California; You also touched so many peoples' lives here.
Now, you need to continue doing it in Pennsylvania as we know you will, it's just a matter of time! :)

We want to tell you Son that we are so proud of both of you, and what you both did not everybody does, it takes courage to do a big change and also being obedient on God's calling; And we are very excited to see what God has in store for you two.
We are so blessed to have both of you in our lives, just keep doing your very BEST like you've always been doing!

We are very excited in making plans to visit you and spend Christmas this year with you guys!

We Love you and will see you soon!
God Bless you my lovely kids!

With lots of Love, Mamá♥!:))

Sarah said...

I relate ( on a smaller scale) I moved from SoCal to NorCal so I don't get to see everyone as often as before. Hang in there =)

- Sarah

Anonymous said...

you're in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I've been there and understand the feeling. Just don't let this time of transition allow you to find other things then relationship to fill the space in your hearts. Better to linger in the loneliness for a bit longer then to allow your self to make it your new way of life by filling the gap with more work, hobbies, and other such time theifs. From the other end this season will seem as short a presence as a passing sign on the freeway.

Sherri said...

Four years ago I made the same move as you, except in reverse. I was in the Midwest. I had the seasons and the snow (and dressed in various layers). I also had my family close by. But now, I'm in California; still trying to do the same thing as you. The biggest difference, as you stated, is that you have Jess and she has you. Always remember just how huge of a blessing that is.

God has plans for you both and He is always there for you. You are exactly where He wants you to be to do His work here on earth. He will put people in your lives who will touch your hearts and will become life-long friends.

God's blessings to you now and always.