Three weeks ago, in preparation for my move to Houston, TX, I moved out of my apartment. My beloved apartment. My beautiful, quiet, charming, perfect apartment.
These next two weeks I am saying a lot of goodbyes; goodbyes to people I hoped never to part from (and, in a larger sense, still hope never to part from). I am giving last hugs, parting words, and wondering when we’ll see each other next (At the wedding! Christmas! Next summer! October? Don’t worry, I’ll fly back constantly! Let’s have a reunion!). It’s pretty terrible.
Leaving a dear home for a new and good opportunity is unavoidably bittersweet. I find myself often near tears for the change. Southern California is my home. I was born, raised, and educated within a 100 mile radius off the South Orange County coast. My parents are here, my sisters are here, the dearest friends I’ve ever had are almost entirely here. Even my darn dog is staying here. So why am I leaving?
It is easy for me to convince myself that I shouldn’t go. People matter more than ideas, and my people are here. Family trumps work, and my family is here. True friends come but rarely, and they surround me here. It is difficult to leave a place that has been good to me and my time here has been very good to me. So why do I go?
Well I guess there is only one reason to leave one’s happy home: the hope of Heaven. If this life were all we had then we should spend it enjoying the people closest to us, relishing every second of our time with them, ensuring that our life be happy, safe, and secure for as long as we can make it such. And yet, with the hope of Heaven there is both freedom and responsibility; freedom to know that I will have, quite literally, all the time I need with my family and friends, and the responsibility to know that now might not be the time for it. There is work to be done.
Nothing but the strongest sense of vocational calling could have removed me from my happy cocoon, a cocoon I had spent many years intentionally building up to keep me safe and life pleasant. Moving to Texas to take on my new job is not safe, and not guaranteed to make me happy. In fact I think I can be quite certain that I will not be as happy there for a while. But I go there because I believe that I have work to do and Houston Baptist University is the place for me to do it.
Were it not for an eternity of time to spend with our loved ones than it would be foolish to spend any time working rather than sitting at their feet. But with the hope of the world to come, it becomes clearer that we now live in a world where much needs repair, many need hope, and even more need love. Our time can wait. Our rest and our true community will come. It’s time to get to work. In Texas.