“You know this was our first house together?”
I was standing on the stairs carrying one of the last of our items down to the moving truck when Sarah said this to me. Today, we are three days shy of our sixth anniversary – when I moved in to Sarah’s two story condominium in Central Florida…our first place together. At the time we thought we were only going to be there for a few months, convinced that God wanted us in New York City. Six years later, I sit in an old court house in downtown Rock Hill, South Carolina with Sarah—about to dive into leading an arts organization.
We are humbled, we are grateful, we carry trepidation and excitement mingled together like change and gum wrappers in our pocket.
God uses time and wilderness to bring about change, and He did so for us. I am not saying Orlando was a wilderness—if it was it was a very steady one. The wilderness was in our hearts, because our desire was to be in one place and yet we were consistently deterred from fulfilling that…and so we “wandered”. I am reminded of Tolkien’s song in The Lord of the Rings about Strider, who later became the King Aragorn:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
We wandered, but were not lost. Why? Because our roots are deep—not in some personal principle or values we carried…not in anything devised in our own hearts or minds and held up by our weak wills. Our roots are sunk in a transcendent and personal God who is mysterious, good, loving, and a lion.
This “rootedness” was visibly reflected in the relationships and in the work we participated in while in Orlando. And we are so grateful to God and to you all—our friends in Central Florida—for helping us cultivate our roots deeply.
We are grateful for all the movies we went to see with our friends, for biweekly porch gatherings every other Thursday, and for the design of cultural artifacts like the Perspective Cards and the Bridges in a Box. We are grateful for the rehumanizing conversations and the classes at Reformed Theological Seminary. In the midst of all these activities are the names and faces of people we love and cherish, some of whom also sink their roots deeply in this same transcendent and personal God.
Now our roots will be planted in South Carolina, but they will echo with the timbres of Central Florida.