When we moved away from Upper, one of the hardest things was saying farewell to our church family. While we were just heading down the road, we knew that the week-to-week relationship we had with many of the people there would change. We still love them very much and enjoying a return (though regretfully it wasn’t for the ice cream social this year). They walked with us through our time dating, into marriage and as we started careers. It was a family that helped to get us set up and sent us out to grow.
We would never have guessed that leaving the next period of time in our life would be just as difficult.
Our time in Findlay has mostly been spent in limbo and waiting. We “made things work” as Husband finished his masters degree and searched out a job. We started our family and welcomed 3 babies into the world while in this house and this place. We trimmed thin budgets, worked strange hours and did what was needed. It was hard, but good.
This last labor and delivery of C was my toughest yet (I know! I thought it was supposed to be easier as you go!). Progress slowed to an almost-stop and we began Pitocen in order to get labor moving again. For a few hours I made little progress despite strong and painful contractions. Finally, they let me get in the shower (water helps relieve the pain for some reason), but as I dried off I told Husband that I simply could not continue. I had much too far to go and just couldn’t endure the pain for any longer. I wanted to quit and get an epidural “like everybody else” and rest until it was time to push and finally see the baby.
Husband encouraged me not to quit, that I was almost there… the midwife echoed his sentiments and then checked my progress. 2 contractions and 2 pushes later our precious C was crying in my arms.
That period of time when you feel you simply cannot go on, in the L & D world, is known as “transition.” It is at that point that everyone truly knows that the show is about to start. But it takes a strong supporting cast to convince mother to endure “just a few more” in order to get there.
The past 3 years in this town, and with this church family and the group of The Friends we have come to rely upon so heavily has been nothing but sheer transition. Labor pains seem to fit as the perfect metaphor (especially since we’ve went through the experience 3 times in the past 3 years; we arrived pregnant and are leaving with a one-week old newborn). And our church family here has been been supporting us and encouraging us through a change of career to schooling and then job hunting.
The last song we sang today (Never let go) is one of my favorites and is forever tied in my mind to this place and St. Paul’s. I remember watching Ron My Favorite Bass Player sing it earnestly as he battled his own health issues. And I’ve teared up through it more than once, reminding myself that “I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on…”, and we would someday not be living only in this state of painful transition.
I don’t want to give the impression that our time in this place has been only painful… there has been great joy and even greater growth in our personal lives and our marriage. We’ve enjoyed the company of so many wonderful people, friends that have given us a sharper image of what true friendship looks like in the day-to-day. Our memories of here aren’t bitter or disparaging but rather coated with encouragement and love.
So now we move on to the next stage; Husband has a good job at a nice school, which was the goal all along, I suppose. We have 3 healthy, happy and beautiful children. And we we’ve grown to know what it means to need God to make sense of the state of chaos in your life. We know how to love others because of how we’ve been loved. We know that it’s not in vain to say to someone “You’re going to make it through this okay” because those words were spoken to us at times when we needed to hear them most.
This past week (and I anticipate the one forthcoming) includes a lot bouncing from excitement and anticipation to sadness about leaving. We’re making such a quick and hasty exit that I feel like there’s not quite time to tie up those loose ends with so many of my relationships. But yet what lies ahead will be new and different and I hope to not let my selfish desire to take Findlay with me overcome the possibilities; I don’t want to make our new place compete with the people and place we love here.
So, to all of our Findlay Family, we’d like to say thank you for everything. We’ll miss you, and we hope to return again someday. (And next time, I promise not to spend the entire time pregnant!).