The Art of Relocating – Part Six


Jesus told him, “You can be sure that anyone who gives up home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or land for me and for the good news will be rewarded.” Mark 10:29-30.

I don’t know anyone for who these words have ever been literally true. I do know many people, myself being one of them, who have realized in retrospect that the blessings of the present could not have come about without the losses of the past.

My mother used to say, “Better be good to people on your way up. You might need them on your way back down.” That has proven true in several situations as people from the past have reappeared in the present.

One of the highlights of my summer was having the honor of presiding at the wedding of a young woman who was ten when I first met her. I was the new pastor where she and her family worshipped in Ohio. Though I was only there a short while – four years – her family and I had many opportunities to connect in a variety of ways. It was hard to leave them behind.

This young woman is now very much all grown up and living in Virginia. I was honored when asked if by any chance I’d travel from Texas to Virginia to do the wedding. It was great fun to reconnect with her parents, her, and her sister. It was a joy to meet her groom and all his large extended family.

Because the bride and groom live in Virginia it seemed unlikely I’d be able to offer much by way of pre-marital counseling. Not to worry. At a conference I attended last spring I sat down next to another pastor – from Virginia. Very near where this young couple lives. She assured me she’d be delighted to do the pre-marital counseling for them if they contacted her. The couple did indeed go to her for pre-marital counseling and now have a church home.

It was a bit bitter sweet moment to realize I will be unable to attend that congregation’s 175th anniversary coming up this fall. However, in conversation with the current pastor of that church, I learned that the pastor’s daughter and son-in-law now live here in Houston. It felt good to be able to suggest local congregations that young couple might want to visit.

Over dinner the other night some friends and we discussed how it works out that sometimes a move we weren’t sure we wanted to make takes us to exactly where we need to be to meet a person who becomes a vital part of our lives. Sometimes so vital we end up marrying them.

A professor I once had was fond of telling us, “Every gain includes a loss and every loss includes a gain.” Life has a way of unfolding with amazing serendipitous blessings.

Guideline # 6 for Relocating

Expect people from the past reappear in the present.

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