On Transition and Desire

On Transition and Desire// Fiona Lynne for SheLoves Magazine

So we are moving again. Boxes half filled stand across our bedroom floor waiting for contents. We’re filling up Facebook albums with photos of things to sell and give away. We’re packing these last few weeks with lunches and dinners and picnics in the park, trying to savour every last moment of goodness with these friends-who-are-family.

After a year of uncertainty there’s a signed contract and a van booked to carry our belongings across the narrow sea and back to the country I grew up in.

“You’re going home!” people have told me.

But this doesn’t feel like a homecoming. I grew up in a small village, knowing everybody. I’m moving to London, a city 83 times bigger than the capital city I currently live in. And more specifically to Peckham, the most diverse part of the UK. Everything about this is new, everything is different.

The newness of it feels overwhelming at moments. I’ve moved enough to know that the first six months are often a lonely time. No one here knows your name yet. Coffee dates, when you get them, are the slightly awkward get-to-know-you kind, not the comfortable ease of someone who has done life with you for years.

And I’m nervous about what I will do. Here, I have purpose and responsibility. People have relied on me and respected me and sought out my opinion. There, I start from scratch again.

I’m scared of becoming small again. I’m scared of the time it will take to call this new place home.

Of course, small is a good place to begin.

Small doesn’t think too highly of herself and so is slow to give her opinion, quicker to listen and create space for others.

Small doesn’t act for the purpose of being seen, of being known. Small seeks of the real places of need, even when they don’t offer recognition.

Small is sure of who she is, what she has to offer. She does not pump herself up like a pigeon showing off. She is quietly confident that her work matters, even when it doesn’t look like much.

When I approach change this way, it feels less like losing myself, more like an incredible opportunity to find a deeper truer me, and in discovering her, to discover more of the Creator who moulded her.

Søren Kierkegaard once wrote, “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”

This is an adventure, a huge step out of my comfort zone. My husband has a job and we know where we’ll live, but beyond that? I don’t know what my days will look like. It feels like losing my footing, for sure. And on the harder days, the ones when planning details are going wrong and it suddenly hits me with a force that I am leaving so many people I love, then I start to doubt it all. Why are we doing this again? Why are we leaving a comfortable life with an established community to start all over again?

And I don’t have a full answer except to say that not to dare is to lose myself.

I’ve been captivated recently by Jan L. Richardson’s idea of the layers of desire we have within us, the need to dig down beneath the initial wants and see what deeper truer calling lies there. “It can take sorting through many layers of yearnings before the real one reveals itself,” she says.

This too is part of the why of moving. I’m continuing that process of sorting and sifting. I’m holding each desire up to the light, examining it, trying it out, tasting and seeing. It feels like holy work, this excavation of my own self, because the closer I come to those foundational desires, the closer I come to God. And I feel God’s pleasure as I do the uncomfortable, beautiful work of daring.

And so I hold tight to Jan L. Richardson’s blessing from her book In the Sanctuary of Women, and pray it for me and for everyone of us standing on the threshold of something new:

“That you may have
the wisdom to know the story
to which God calls you,
the power to pursue it,
the courage to abide its mysteries,
and love in every step.”

This post was originally published at SheLoves Magazine.