Today I start packing up my kitchen…
We’ve encountered a major life hiccup in our plans to hit the road. The house we hoped to list and sell by May had an unplanned delay and it could be indefinite. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, a big hitch in our cash flow, and a painfully hard learned lesson in discernment.
However, as always God provides
Our apartment lease is done this month and if all had gone as planned we would be transitioned to an RV by now, and on our way out of Illinois. Instead we’re planning to live with church family and store most of our things until our house situation is resolved.
It’s the first time we’ve truly needed to live with someone. Usually we’re the ones hosting people. We’re grateful and thrilled to have this little time of rest before the next leg of our life journey begins.
But it’s really messing with Bruce’s inherited mentality about imposing on other people!
Personally I am at peace with all of this. I’ve actually enjoyed the process of sorting through our possessions, purging the unnecessary, selling off the decor and packing what’s left. After all, it’s not like we’re going to become full on minimalists, (the storage unit is 10×15) but we’ve definitely eliminated a lot of our old and unneeded items.
Today begins the kitchen and I’m a tad nostalgic
Next to my sewing room, it’s my heart
Kitchens are one of those places where some of the most meaningful conversations happen in our home. People gather to help, talk and watch me cook or see Bruce carve. Sometimes kids are helping, other times they’re banished outdoors to play with Maggy so we can talk about them. As the girls were growing up, the kitchen table was Bruce’s opportunity to share his heart on the deepest issues of the day. Many a ‘church’ service was held at the kitchen table with dad as ‘pastor.
Kitchen table life is for me, a calling. We’ve been ministered to and we’ve ministered to others around the table for decades. Tears shed, stories told, verses read, and laughter so hard our sides were sore the next day, have all happened at our table.
It’s one of the most precious places in my life
I’ve never had what is considered a ‘perfect’ kitchen compared to the HGTV models. Makeshift furniture has stood in for cabinet space many times. Currently my kitchen is severely divided from the dining area. I poke my head out often to contribute to conversations! But we always make them work. What’s extra special about this kitchen are the different ethnicities that have gathered here.
Young adults from countries all over the world. Families from India and The Bahamas. Puerto Ricans of every age. Mexicans. African Americans from cities, rural (Jim Crow) and suburbia. And of course, my dear Dominican friend who now owns a lot of my living room.
I have loved every minute of it!
I’ve served corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day to all of them through the last 6 years. It’s a tradition in our house and sharing it is a lot of fun. The Puerto Ricans were hesitant, the Indians the most eager. In fact, Indian people are some of the most Epicurious folks I know. It’s great fun to cook for them, they’ll try anything.
Many a holiday meal was shared at our table through the years. Because we’ve always lived away from family our church friends have been our substitute family. And I have to say, sometimes it’s the best way to celebrate a holiday!
I am truly going to miss this, probably more than anything else about Chicago…
Yesterday I dropped off a couple of area rugs for cleaning. I’d done a bit of calling from the internet yellow pages and the only place that had a live body was this one, the price was right too. When I dropped off the rugs I chatted with the owners. They immigrated from Iran 20 years ago and began their cleaning business out of their home, then ended up moving to a facility when it grew too big. Charming, lovely and warm people. I had a Persian friend in AZ who taught me to make Chai and they offered to serve it when I come to pick up my rugs. I enjoyed hearing their story.
THIS is what makes America great!
And Chicago provides me with endless encounters like this
As I told my Dominican friend, unless you came on the Mayflower or signed the Declaration of Independence, you are an immigrant in America. And to the Native Americans, everyone is an immigrant!
RV and national parks are going to be a change, I have no idea what to expect. I know we’ll enjoy whomever we meet, but it won’t be the same as city life. Nothing is quite like big city life. The integration factor alone distinguishes it from suburban and rural life. Never mind the tightly built homes, multi story buildings, storefront churches, limited parking, awful traffic and terrible roads.
I’ve loved all of it!
So as I start to pack up the last room of our apartment for storage, RV or donation, my heart is filled with the sweetest of memories about life in a big city. The table times that have filled my cup to overflowing with the joy of knowing God’s people from all over the world. The learning that happened as we navigate this life on earth together in anticipation of the one to come. And the wonder of how God knits people together from every walk of life. His ability to make us into a group of people who love each other as family despite our differences.
It’s what the world is longing for. No amount of dialog will accomplish it either. There is no substitute for living among people who are vastly different from you. It’s the accelerated school of life.
And God is what makes it happen…
I will always be grateful