By Ada Nicholson Brownell
Our first move was when we were married less than a year. We landed in a cabin on top of Colorado’s Tennessee Pass. Since then we’ve moved more than 30 times.
My most troubling "relocation" was Thompson, a town in the Utah desert, Population 100, three bars, and no church. My husband, a railroader, worked nights. We had a two-week-old baby; a dilapidated rental, no telephone; knew no one in town. Ninety miles separated me from my family and the doctor. The nearest city hid 38 miles another direction.
Previously, we owned a cute little house in my home town, surrounded by friends and family. I was president of a thriving church youth group. After the move, my emotions went splat on the brick wall of seemingly impossible circumstances. Through God's grace I discovered moving isn't the end of the world.
Here are 10 ways I learned to accept change.
1. God directs my steps. In Utah, I learned to be thankful for the railroad job and for new friends. While we lived in the mountain cabin, we made wonderful friends in nearby Minturn, Colo. In Thompson my husband joined the Thompson/Crescent Junction baseball team and that opened doors to make friends. When God sent a young Christian woman my age to town, we started a Sunday school. We lived in Thompson five years, and I look back on those years fondly.
2. I can keep old friends. We have friends scattered everywhere. We still have some from my home town. We stopped in Thompson to see the Rogers about five years ago. Bonnie, from Minturn, Colo., and I have stayed in touch over decades. When I joined Facebook, other precious friends renewed acquaintance. I value these folks.
3. I can make new friends. Wonderful people who need somebody are everywhere. By being willing to move, my circle of friends exploded. We moved to Missouri eight years ago. I found I could make new connections even as a senior. Mothers of Preschoolers needed mentors, a children’s pastor hunted more teachers, a senior choir had openings, senior groups had activities. Making friends takes effort, but it’s worth it.
4. New challenges often create character. I’ve taught youth that everything we learn, accomplish or do that is a challenge grows us into better people. I learned when I changed my attitude about moving God directed my footsteps, renewed my mind and helped me to be a better person, wife and mother. Ministry is needed everywhere. When I grieved because I had to resign as youth leader to move, I looked back instead of embracing the future. When I willingly jumped from a treasured place to migrate again, I learned soaring into the future is more fun that sitting in the nest.
5. Another place might open unexpected doors. I didn’t plan to be a writer or reporter, but while in the Utah desert with time on my hands, I began writing for Christian publications and worked as a newspaper correspondent. I later spent 17 years as a reporter for a daily newspaper. Would this have happened if I hadn’t left what was behind and pressed on?
6. We can enjoy a different location. Learning the attributes of a new place builds affection. This took effort. The second move to Thompson, my husband worked Sundays, so we drove 38 miles to Moab to evening church services— and made friends. We discovered a ghost town a few miles up a canyon, and Indian hieroglyphs beside the dusty road. Near Moab was Dead Horse Point, a miniature Grand Canyon, and Arches National Monument.
In cities, we took advantage of tennis courts, parks, scenery, tourist sites, libraries and shopping. We decided to enjoy each new home town.
7. We can blossom anywhere. Paul wrote, “I learned in whatever state I am to be content.” When each move came, I learned to decide to be happy, allow God to use me, hang on to old friends and make new ones, look to the future, hunt for the good in a community, get involved, enjoy people and life where the Lord leads. That way each location became a haven for joy.