Monday, August 31, 2015

Vagabond Summer, Part 4

(Catch up on Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Sometimes you have to blow things up.

Sometimes you need to travel 1,000 miles away from the place you call home before you can discover what home really is.

In a basement apartment, in blazing heat and no air conditioning, away from the familiar and the comforting, we tore down walls and ripped out hurts and dug up disappointments to find our family at the center of all our busyness and distractions.

Three weeks into our vagabond summer, we started to find our footing again. We started to enjoy our time instead of rushing to cram in as much as we could. We settled into the knowledge that changing location only does that – it doesn’t actually change who you are. And we began to rebuild.

Amid the chaos, we stumbled into church on Sunday morning, completely unsure of what to expect. I’d found Nexus PDX through a Google search for something near our rental. Three weeks was long enough that I wanted something. If we were even considering moving to Portland ever in the future, I wanted to know there was a faith community we could call home. That we wouldn’t find ourselves spiritual orphans, without the family we’ve found at our church in Los Angeles.

There have been a few people in my life that felt like friends the moment we met. Like something in me recognizes something in then. “Oh, it’s you!” Walking into that church felt like coming home. The two Sundays we spent with Trevor, Julie and the rest of the Nexus family left an indelible mark on my heart and my soul. If we did nothing else that entire summer, the encouragement we gave and received were totally worth it.

To finish off that first Sunday on a beautiful note, we barbequed with dear friends from the newly wed small group we'd lead years ago. Rob and Amber live in Hawaii now but ended up in Portland for a couple days while we were there. Our boys struck up an instant friendship, while we shared our hearts and souls and journeys over the years.

That second week in Portland, We blew things up, put them back together, and build deep friendships over burgers, beers and artisan gelatos. We visited stunning parks shaded by towering trees. We ate every recommended doughnut in Portland (for the record, Pip’s are the best, but only fresh and they are kind of different animal all together).


With our time in Portland winding down, we spent those last days in a whirlwind of fun. We visited the Portland Children’s Museum, the Oregon Zoo, splash pads, the local pool and the rose garden. We spent an amazing day on Sauvie Island, where the Columbia and the Williamette meet. We picked berries and swam in the river. We fished for crawdads in our own backyard (where the water was so clear, it looked like it had come from the tap!) and ate them for dinner. We were wild and free and family. 


We found so much of what we were looking for, and yet we still had no real grasp of why we’d come. Joe and the kids spent our last morning at the Oaks, the little family-run amusement park nestled along the river in our neighborhood. I took myself in for a long over due haircut. I think we were all in a bit of denial. Despite the struggles, none of us were ready to leave.

We drove away from Portland with lumps in our throats, already aching to come back. 

And there was still the small detail of where we were live for the next week, when our renters moved out...

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