Living in a vacuum

Last week, I was on vacation in Michigan, visiting college haunts and college friends.  When I graduated and came home to the East Coast, I left a part of my heart on the shore of Lake Michigan and in the city of Grand Rapids, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t often think of moving back to that city and those friends who I love so much.

And I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have the suitcases in my head already packed last week when while I was on vacation I was offered the opportunity to live and work in the city that I love so much.


The drive from Michigan to Maryland is a long one, a half a day if I obey the posted speed limit signs.  It’s even longer when I spend that stretch of time alone in the car and alone in my head wrestling through a decision that feels heavy with the life change it could bring.

So, on the drive home last week, I called the BFF and relayed the conversations I’d had about Michigan and a job and a place to live.  I ran her through the pro and con list I’d been making in my head the two days prior, and the bite in her voice when she said, “Well, maybe you should go then!” reminded me that this decision wasn’t just about me. Because the thought of my leaving clearly hurt her.

Because when you live in community, you don’t make choices in a vacuum.

That’s the thing about community: lives become intertwined and choices become a lot more complicated.  When I’m making a decision about moving to Michigan or staying in Maryland, it’s not a simple decision about the zip code where I’m going to have mail sent.  It’s complicated by the breakfasts I’ve had with Jesse and Noah at the Greek Village, and the dinners I’ve had sitting at Amy and Mike’s table, and the Friday nights I’ve prayed with the youth group kids after they’re bruised from playing dodgeball, and the laughing my mom and I have done sitting next to each other on the couch watching Bunheads.  It’s complicated by the way that we won’t be able to do these things together if I change zip codes.


Yesterday, on the road to visit another friend of ours, the BFF and I talked again in the car about my potential move to Michigan.  She apologized for snapping and said, “Don’t think that because I didn’t ask you to stay that I don’t want you to.  But, you’ve got to go where God wants you and He might want you in Michigan.” Her eyes began to tear, but I think she hoped I wouldn’t notice that behind her sunglasses.  “Just know that whatever you decide, I’m on board.”

Seems to me that’s the other thing about community:  it means people are on board.

And when you’ve got people on board, for all the complications that it brings, it sure beats living in a vacuum.

4 thoughts on “Living in a vacuum

  1. Definitely not over. I think for a good patch this summer I ran out of hope and started to feel pretty beat up by the whole process. But, the potential move to Michigan renews hope for me, knowing that there are opportunities still out there. And so, I’m back in the think of the application process. Here’s to praying for interviews…again!

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