May 2010


In 2002 David Wilcox released his second live album and on it he introduces a song about decision-making by treating Robert Frost’s most famous poem in this way:

“two roads diverge in a yellow wood and sorry i couldn’t travel both and be one traveler long i stood.

and stood i long and standing still for longer still, still standing still. looking down one as far as i could but then the other just as fair. in fact, the way i came over there looks pretty good, too. i could have all three. if i stayed right here i could have all three potentially. i don’t have to move at all, do i? i don’t have to really choose….

oh, but then i realize that all the paths are getting shorter at the far end. ’cause we only have so many steps to take. we only have so much time… so i have to choose. so i have to trust.”

One of the new fears in my adult life has turned out to be the fear of losing previous opportunities. When confronted with options I find myself more than anxious about the outcomes. Having children, settling in a city, moving on from that city, staying with my current job, finding a new one. Walking the dog, not walking the dog! (just kidding)

I find myself at this divergent road some days, looking longingly down all three paths. And sometimes afraid that I failed to notice the road I should have taken and it’s gone forever!

I find myself, like D.W. describes, treating God like “a game-show host sort of a God saying, ‘well, let’s see which one you’ve chosen… Oh no!” Looking at things from an incredibly sad, Western, naive perspective. Making my life a sentence that should be diagramed, instead of a poem. Printing a photo of the Carlsbad flower fields in grayscale.

But the truth is, I have no need for a map or a guarantee. If I look back at my life to this point, it’s not the “good decisions” that make me smile. It’s the snapshot experiences and the people there with me. It’s a God who welcomes me every single time, no matter which road I’ve taken, or where it’s taken me. If I could choose to be on a perfect path, with divine binoculars and GPS, I would say ‘no’. If given the choice, I much prefer my current situation. With a kaleidoscope and a divine traveling companion.


Step one in our move to Nashville was to sell the house.  The plan was to stay with some friends for the couple weeks we anticipated being out of the house before the big move.  It sold and closed so quickly, however, that the amazing Koons were faced with losing their guest room for eleven weeks instead of two or three.  You can imagine the upheaval we have created in their home.  If it doesn’t seem too drastic yet, you should know that they have an indoor cat.  And Banjo without his backyard can find little more entertaining than trying to sniff Scot the cat’s bottom.  Scot the cat, as you can imagine, is utterly offended at the attempt.  Adult supervision is required for them at all times.

We are incredibly fortunate, blessed, awestruck to have one very hospitable couple who put us up for six weeks when we moved to town and yet another to house us for almost three months on our way out.

But as important and helpful as the roof over our heads is, the thing I am most grateful for is these experiences of community living.  More than the crunch of going from, between our two households, seven bedrooms and three bathrooms to three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms, I have been struck by how much more lived-in this space is compared to our previous one.  In the best way.  Every day there are great smells coming from the kitchen and not always at the work of our own hands.  There is someone home to catch up with at the end of each day, and more stories brought to the dinner table.  And as of yet, always a quiet place to retreat for quiet conversations with our spouses or  reading.  Or writing a blog.

In some ways this is great practice for moving into a small apartment very soon.  But it also makes me sad to imagine that quiet apartment.  Grilling out with friends will take more planning again.  Food will last longer and not be as fresh.  And no one will be betting on how long the pet staring matches will last.

As we get older, experience living in different climates and cultures, feel the renewed importance of simple things, the lesson I’ve been most blessed by over and over is that community is the most important gift we have.  Whether it’s over a bible study, a flooded city, or an open flame and some chicken, life is sweetest in good company.  May we find it and offer it wherever we go.

Last month Jaron resigned from his position as worship director at First Presbyterian Champaign. We also sold our house. And I resigned from my three jobs. There was a lot of undoing done.

Owning a home was something we desperately wanted two years ago. We found a beautiful one with great neighbors. Really great neighbors. But soon the maintenance of our house-owner relationship began to wear on us. No more going out with friends and much less time for Jaron to record. And huge bills. Not including the mortgage. I began to hear a verse run through my head that I had heard years earlier in a LJ Booth song.

“My father warned me with with his tongue
But back then I was too young
He said that when you’re grown it’s true
What you think you own, owns you”

More and more often the beauty of our home became overshadowed by its demands. After many months of feeling it out, we put our pretty white house with a picket fence on the market. For Sale by Owner. How hard could it be?

One month later after seemingly endless boxes and phone calls and writing checks and getting checks, we are moved out and closed. So fast. And and unbelievable relief.

To add to the upheaval, we’ve decided to move to Nashville. What?? What’s in Nashville?? Well, a dream. A dream of pursuing music more fully and being surrounded by other folks after the same thing. Where we won’t be the weird ones. And a beautiful city with a fantastic coffee and food scene, both of which we tend to be kind of snobby about. 🙂

There have been some definite freak-out moments. Moments when this move feels too crazy and I want to do the safe thing. Like stay employed and own a home and look the part of a responsible young adult. But fact is, there is no safe option. Not Champaign, not San Diego, not Stars Hollow. Watching the generation before me I’ve seen some folks go after big change. For others, it shows up uninvited through a lost job or home or family. For the time being, Jaron and I are choosing the curve ball. The choose-your-own adventure autobiography. This is a dream we have shared for years and it’s only grown over time. So with the firm knowledge that we may utterly fail and the comfort that we are well-loved and there are couches to crash land on if needed, we are moving to Nashville.

We are simplifying yet again, to a small apartment and part time jobs. And complicating things with starting our own business and recording an album (!!) and paying for our own health care in an increasingly costly market. This is not an attempt to become famous. There are no American Idol try-outs in our future. Just a question that needs to be answered – a question of whether the pursuit of this craft is worth the sacrifices. We’re so glad to have the opportunity to find out. And can’t wait to share the successes and failures of the coming months with you.