We're in Wisconsin!
The morning of our big move, on Friday, August 3, we left our apartment around 7:00 a.m., loaded up to the brim with all of our belongings and a few coffees. As we drove around downtown Nashville, heading north, I couldn’t stop crying—those big, gulping, ugly, snot-running cries. Not out of sadness though; an immense and deep and strong gratefulness and disbelief overcame my body, and I couldn’t help but just say thank you over and over to God.
Thank you for bringing us out.
Nashville was a dark place for me, full of pain and struggle and sadness and loneliness. For three and a half years, I never really felt at home, I never fully settled enough to take a deep breath. Finding healthy community was a constant struggle, and I largely felt alone, save for a few precious souls who rallied around me when I needed courage the most.
See when I first moved to Nashville, I thought I was doing something exciting for myself, for my future. I thought I was stepping out bravely, moving away from family and familiarity for change and newness. But when reality caught up with me, I realized my move was just an attempt to lose the demons from my past that never seemed to take a rest. And no matter what distractions I surrounded myself with or how busy I let myself grow, those demons faithfully followed me, clawing away.
After about a year in the city, I grew so weary from ignoring their presence that I finally sought courage to confront them. I forced myself to slow down, to check my soul, and began to face some of them. Nashville became the place where I fought the hardest spiritual and emotional battles of my short life, despite an environment that screamed at me to just pretend that everything was okay, that I was fine, to paint on a facade, and play dress-up. Nashville is beautiful and it has so much to offer, but it's hard to fall apart in a city that demands perfection and the constant self-promotion.
Throughout those years, the Midwest served as retreat for my exhausted and weary soul as I begged God to take me out, to call us away. As soon as the city highways opened up into endless pastures and clear sunsets, my lung capacity seemed to expand, my muscles relaxed, and I finally felt safe enough to close my eyes and breathe deeply. Back in the Midwest, I could be alone, I could sit on my parents' porch for hours without any pressure to be something or achieve something.
Now I’m here as a resident, and it almost feels like I’ve been here my whole life, like Nashville was just some long dream that I finally woke up from. In those moments when I remember that Nashville was real, that its mark on my soul is permanent, the magnitude of this transition flashes through me so fast and so strong that I feel my body might crumble. And I can’t help but praise my God, who in His ever faithful kindness, orchestrated a path out of Nashville, back to the Midwest.
Being here feels like salvation all over again.
Here, the mornings are cool and curtains flutter in a soft breeze. Stillness and quiet sit in every corner, and the musty, green smell from acres of corn ripening in the sun hangs in the air. These people are my people. Born of the dirt, raised in the fields.
I know this place will also be unkind to me. I’m not naive enough to expect it will be easy. I know it will also leave marks on my soul and cause deep unrest. But here, here I feel more ready for what’s to come, almost as if I have some kind of home field advantage over whatever’s around the corner (as silly as that might sound).
So for now, I revel in being here, in being still, in sitting by the lake, in being refreshed, in walking through the woods, in being made new.
In your corner,