“Are you excited to be going” is the question we’re asked most often. Four weeks today we will have arrived in Iquitos, to start the next chapter of our lives. Truth is we are excited, but it is well wrapped up in some other things.
Packing. We are living in a world of mess, boxes and stuff as we go through we our stuff and work out if we want (or need) to keep it. Over the years we have amassed enough possessions to fill a four bedroomed house, but how much of it is worth packing up? What will we need when we are living in the UK over the next few years? And do we still have an attachment to our children’s primary school work?
Uprooting. We’ve lived here for over a decade and moving on feels like extracting a tooth; there’s lots of pulling, twisting and force needed to break free. But as we say ‘goodbye’ the truth is that we will be back in a matter of months, and we are well aware that life will go on without us here. In fact as church life gears up for the autumn it is all too clear that the planning doesn’t include us.
Uncertainty. Our lives are characterised by uncertainty. Until two weeks ago we had no idea where we would live when we moved out of the manse. Until last week we were not sure where our daughter was going to University. While we have sold our house in Nottinghamshire, the contract process is still not completed. Uncertainty has become the new normal.
Lists. Things to do, choices to make, decisions to action. From getting injections and medical stuff, to redirecting post, sorting utility providers, informing insurance companies……. Of the mundane list of tasks there is no end.
Financial Insecurity. 21 years ago we left our well paid jobs and moved to London so I could go to theological college, living without regular income. Since 1999 I’ve been the minister of a local church and we’ve got used to regular monthly income. But we are giving that up, and pension contributions, and sick pay…….. is this wise? Ought we not to be thinking of the future, making financial provision and all that jazz?
Emotions……. Although we feel called to this, there remains a level of anxiety about the future both short and medium term. In the dark watches of the night it formulates into the question of why God would work this way (is God working this way, is God…….). There’s apprehensiveness about life in the jungle, are we fit enough; what if something goes wrong (another heart attack?). And then there’s family back here; what if our daughter doesn’t settle into life at University, what if our son needs help, what if something happens to one of our parents. Oh, and frustration. You’d not believe the amount of time I’ve had to spend getting domestic flights in Peru to match an itinerary with someone else (a simple 10 minute task?).
So excitement comes in strange packaging. Yet under all the wrapping we are looking forward to this next adventure, excited about the challenges of adapting to a new language and culture, prayerful that our presence in the Amazon will make a positive contribution to life there, and learn new things from the people. We are hopeful we will look back and see this was the best decision we made……excited you bet! Four weeks and counting.