Beginning in early December Dale and I made the decision to move back "home" to Clinton, NY. Finally in February it was announced that I would be returning to work at Hamilton College in development as a major gifts officer. This position requires continued travel every other week or so, for 2-3 days, yet does not involve managing staff or a program. What a break and relief to "only" focus on 150-200 alumni donors to the College! I resigned from Gettysburg College where I served as director of athletic development, and learned to let go of a program that received so much of my time and attention.
It's always difficult to let go of something that held a part of your heart, along with the people who became a part of me. Even though we were in Gettysburg for only two years, it was such a powerful time in my life in terms of personal growth. It can be daunting to take a leap of faith and surrender one thing, while embracing another. With our move back "home" to Clinton, I could see the work of God in each step along the way. For three months we did not have anyone look at our house, yet I could feel God's peace and reminder that "it only takes one" to make a sale, and to not lose hope. Despite what the housing market was revealing in statistics, and despite the prodding of our realtor to lower the price (yet again) before the spring season even began, we held onto hope. Finally after what seemed like a long time, we got an offer on our house for more than what we would have lowered the price to, if we had agreed to the recommendation of our realtor. What a relief to know that we wouldn't have to carry a mortgage long distance like we did when we moved from Clinton to Gettysburg (for a whole year!).
The next step was to secure a place to live. Selling our house did not come without much sacrifice, as we lost a fair amount and continue to carry the loss with us in the form of an additional loan. As much as I wanted to buy a house in Clinton and make additional sacrifices to make it work, in our hearts we didn't think it was the best decision. We began looking for places to rent long-term (and I even continued to pursue purchasing!), when suddenly we were invited to explore a unique opportunity that would answer our housing questions...while doing so much more!
Dale and I were invited to explore the possibility of serving as Resident Directors for Clinton's A Better Chance program, which is part of the national ABC program with the purpose of providing a better chance for young persons of color to obtain a solid education, and therefore increase the number of people of color in leadership, in America. Immediately we were interested in thinking through this and learning more, as we both knew students in high school who were part of the program. We both have an interest in working with young people - Dale has been a high school and assistant collegiate volleyball coach, and we've both been church youth leaders at different points. The Clinton program would involve living in a house on the Hamilton College campus, with eight (yes, 8!) teenage boys, two in each grade 9-12. What a unique and amazing experience this will be, and what a wonderful opportunity for our son, Gabe! We'll go from having one son, to essentially nine!
This year has been full of waiting, as we've had the opportunity to see what lies ahead just down the road. Knowing in December that we would probably be moving back, and it not occurring until June (!) was a long wait. Learning in June that we were approved as RDs for the ABC program, and waiting until August to move in, has been a test of patience and perseverence! I used to think that I could be trusted to know what lies ahead and that I would be patient and not overlook the current moment. Wrong! I think I'd rather just live in the moment and not know! It's simply just too overwhelming and difficult to bear the stress...even of excitement!
It feels like my life has come full circle. I moved to Clinton when I was exactly Gabe's age...4, turning five in the fall, and entering Kindergarten. When I was that age, my Mom and I moved into an apartment down the street from where she and my Dad currently live, and where I ultimately grew up after my Mom met and married my Dad. What is interesting about that is that the vice president of the ABC program currently owns that "apartment" that is now a house, and we had our interview there in June! I believe things like this happen for a reason, as a whisper from God that He is there, and that He has a plan bigger than we can ever imagine.
I've spent the past two months trying to come to peace with this feeling of my life coming full circle, as we've lived in my parents house since we moved back "home" at the end of May. It's been strange, yet it's gone so much quicker than I imagined. We are all busy and focused on the different aspects of our lives that we really don't see each other much at all. It's kind of sad in a way, how we're traveling in different directions from each other, but that's life. It's about moving on.
We'll move into the ABC House in just a few days, and I'm really excited to decorate our space within the house, and to make it our own, as much as we can. Our focus is to embrace the boys as part of our family, and even though we don't know how long we'll be in this role and live in the house, it's where we'll live for now.
As one of my favorite songs, One Life to Live, by 33 Miles, says:
You only get just one time around, you only get one shot at thisOne chance to find out the one thing that you don’t wanna miss
One day when it’s all said and done I hope you see that it was enough
This one ride, one try, one life to love
I'm excited for where God will take us in this journey. I'm grateful for what I've experienced this year, and most especially for the time right now as I learn to let go of the past, and embrace the future, while surrendering my disappointments and expectations.