The chill in the morning air is getting heavy, and it’s easier said than done getting out of bed nowadays. Fall has made its way to us in the Pacific Northwest. I noticed the darkness in the morning sky lingers longer than the previous day. And I saw leaves swirling in a dance across Black Butte Boulevard, as I made my way to the coffee shop for quiet time, coffee and writing. It’s things like the chill in the air, the lingering darkness in the sky, and the swirling leaves that signal to us fall is upon us.
Moving into another season of life.
My family and I have been moving for the past two weeks, and during that time we were staying in a 1,000 square-foot storefront until our house was ready for move-in. The storefront is like a boarding area at an airport. It was a place of transition: No turning back; No moving forward; Only standing still. We were in a holding pattern until the gate opened. During this time I kept asking myself, “Is it worth it?
Nothing about this move felt significant. We only moved twenty minutes away from where we’d been living for the past five years—not the big state to state moves for new ministry jobs like we’d done in the past. We moved because for the last year and a half we’ve been commuting from the city we lived in, to the city where our business and jobs are at. It was the most logical move for us to make—to live in the city where we work and play.
Moving is difficult.
As I mentioned, there didn’t seem to be anything significant or difficult about this move. Although, it was difficult like our other moves because we couldn’t transition at once into a new place to live. We knew we were moving, so we didn’t renew our lease, but our new house wasn’t ready for us. The house was being remodeled from subfloor to rafters, and it was taking longer than expected.
This is how we found ourselves in an empty storefront for two weeks. Much like our other past moves where we had to stay with an acquaintance, a friend, or empty storefront for a period until we found a place to call home.
And much like our other moves we have learned to adapt and reorient our lives to help our moves be as smooth as possible. We’ve moved to and from four different states for ministry positions, and with each move we have gained the art of minimalization and simplification.
But this move—this new season of life was turning out to be significant and difficult. And it’s because what it represented. We moved away from what had been part of our lives for the past twenty years, we were no longer a ministry family. For twenty years we dedicated our lives to ministry and pastoral life: It was how we paid the bills, put food on the table, it was our source of relationships and identity—for both better or worse.For a significant part of our lives it was everything we have known and for my kids they have only known us as a ministry family. The past twenty years was coming to its completion. It was an end of an era.
Jesus told his followers some seasons in life have a heavy chill in the air.
We have spent many fall seasons in different parts of the country making our way to the temple to hear Jesus teach, and many of them on chilly mornings. Sometimes the chill in the morning air was heavier than usual, and it was easier said than done getting out of bed.
There were times I’d ask God if it made him happy that my joints ached because of the chill or if he took great joy in seeing my wife and kids freeze to death because there wasn’t a warm security blanket to wrap them tight as the chill turned into frost and then into ice. It can be chilly giving up your possessions, family, friends and homeland for Jesus. Like the widow mentioned by Jesus in the gospels, sometimes I’ve felt like out of my poverty I’ve put in all I had to live on. And I’d ask myself, “Is it all worth it?”
In Luke’s gospel there’s a section where Jesus is in the temple teaching people about difficult circumstances about to befall him and his followers.
He foretells things like the Temple being destroyed, which he mentioned twice, as if they didn’t get it the first time he said it. He braces his listeners by telling them about wars and rumors of wars.
Jesus forewarns his listeners that his followers would suffer persecution and that people would misunderstand them and hated them for his namesake.
He even tells his listeners that when these things happen, his followers shouldn’t let their hearts get weighed down with distraction and wantonness for the cares of this world.
Jesus ends with telling his listeners they should expect these things and when these activities occur, his followers should straighten up their backs with hope and raise their heads with expectation because redemption is near. He was telling his listeners it’s all worth it.
Like I mentioned, the chill in the morning air is getting heavy and it’s easier said than done getting out of bed any more. And I wonder if the people in Luke’s gospel, who went early in the morning to hear Jesus teach in the temple had as difficult of time rolling out of bed as I do getting out of bed.