Our two youngest girls have spent a valuable year living together in a Chicago apartment, and today the year ended. It was moving day.
Louisa and Birgitta, fondly known as Weezi and Gitta, had set a goal of living “in a city” together one day, after they’d grown. Life changes rapidly for today’s young people with moving days sprinkled all over their twenty-something calendars, and last summer Nate and I were proud of them as they moved out of the cottage and moved in together. They made their check lists and narrowed their options. The winners were New York, Nashville or Chicago.
New York was too pricey. Nashville was the home of two brothers, a big draw, and since Weezi had been in school there, it was already familiar. But in the end, they chose Chicago. I’m sure God influenced their decision because he was already looking at what we couldn’t yet see. Had they chosen anyplace but Chicago, the minute they learned of Nate’s cancer they’d have uprooted, forsaking jobs and an apartment to be with him and the rest of us.
Because they were only 90 miles away, they spent four out of every seven days in Michigan during Nate’s illness and still held onto their jobs. (It also helped that their landlord was their uncle.) Apart from the misery of losing their father, which overshadowed everything, the year was an important one.
Weezi and Gitta learned the names and numbers of Chicago streets and how to navigate them. They used public transportation and figured out the complicated toll-card machines. They became skilled at parallel parking in tiny openings and discovered that walking was the best way to get where you wanted to go. They took advantage of what the city offered and learned how to carefully budget their paychecks.
When the girls moved into their place a year ago, the only negative had been the long “tunnel” between buildings that led to their door in the rear. After all, it was the city, where daytime safety became night time’s danger. Nate had heard of a new taser the size of a cell phone and was convinced the girls should have them. He’d read about wrestlers and football players volunteering to “take a hit” from the girlie-tasers, then “folding up like card tables” when shot from 15 feet. “Order two of them” he said, but we learned they weren’t legal.
Pepper spray was a poor second, but after testing it out in the apartment and coughing for hours afterwards, the girls walked their neighborhood (and the dark tunnel) with confidence. On this moving day, my gratitude to God is unbounded, because two keychain-sized cans of pepper spray are still full.
Since Gitta was at her Iowa school today and couldn’t participate in the move, Weezi took over organizing and did an excellent job, complete with regular ice water breaks for the six of us. Lars brought his truck, Jordan came from Indiana, Mike accompanied Klaus, and Klaus made the whole thing fun. In my book, each person was a reason to be thankful. Even the weather cooperated, a bonus when transporting mattresses in an open truck bed.
As children journey through their twenties, I’ve noticed God teaching them key life lessons through the many moves they make. My prayer is that as they move from place to place, role to role and challenge to challenge, they’ll also be steadily making moves closer and closer to him.
”Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)