our new space
Oliver Ferguson joined our fellowship in 2013 and served on the Leadership Team 2016-2018. We have missed him and his teachings since he moved to Minneapolis, and are delighted to reconnect and embrace him as part of our extended family. I am grateful for his insights as he shares his experiences on our faith journey. -Renée
I moved recently, and like most people, I hate having to do it. I particularly hate the period just after you unpacked the truck and much of your possessions are inboxes. Immediately you empty the necessities, pots, pans, utensils, and clothes. Everything else gets taken out slowly over several weeks, and let’s be honest, some of those boxes never get unpacked.
Why does moving frustrate and exhaust us so much? I think it’s because something is unsettling about the process of moving. It feels chaotic, disrupts routines, and sometimes is costly. Moving requires a lot of adjustments; old furniture might not fit in the new spaces, new fixtures need accessories you didn’t have, that print that was such a perfect fit in the old kitchen doesn’t work in the new place because of the color and how the sunlight strikes the wall in the morning. I, for example, had to buy a new dining room set because the old one just didn’t fit in the new space.
College towns like Champaign-Urbana are very transient, with people coming and going all the time. Even those who settle down, they too will move from an apartment, upsize to a house when they start a family, and maybe downsize when they “empty nest.” People moving in and out is a part of life in C-U.
I am doing well right now, I have unpacked all my boxes, and I just got to the stage of putting pictures and art on the wall! But I am still dealing with the emotional exhaustion, dealing with that sense of chaos and disruption that comes with moving. Whenever I feel displaced, I sometimes find it hard to pray, hear God or engage with Spirituality.
In recent weeks as I try to make myself pray and read the Bible, I am struck by how much of the Bible is stories of God’s interaction with men and women who are constantly moving or displaced. From Abraham being asked to leave his family to live a nomadic life in Canaan, to Moses leading the Israelites in the Exodus, to David in hiding from Saul to Jesus and his disciples having “nowhere lay their heads,” to Paul on his missionary journeys.
My recent move gave me a new address and a new commute to work. Even if you didn’t get a new address like I did, in a way, we have all “moved” in the last 15 months. The world around us got thrust into chaos, disruption, and ending of routines. We are no longer in the same relationship with the people around us, the spaces we exist in together.
As we sojourn this “new space” together, trying to establish a new normal, we can take this as an opportunity to examine our lives to figure out what things just don’t quite “fit” and be willing to let go. What new accessory do we need to fit with the new normal? Embracing the change can help with dealing with the discomfort.
Now is a great time to be aware of God’s hand at work. Look out for Him in unexpected ways and unexpected places, because like those in the Biblical narratives, he seems to be most active in chaos, giving us calm and assurance. Let’s look out for each other and help each other unpack our boxes and decorate our new space!
Director of Intercultural Learning and Experiences