Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A ‘Nomadic Gene’? - Peter A. Black

I wouldn’t have thought I would become a restless, unsettled nomad, and it’s probably a safe bet that if my sweetheart had any inkling that she would have been making 13 or more house-movings with me, she would have adopted a “thanks, but no thanks” approach to the marriage proposal I pitched her one night back in ‘65.

As it is, I’m working on moving into my 16th residence in life. My tenancy has so far averaged just over four years a shot. Mind you, it’s not an eviction – we pay our rent; it is more the path of life that we’ve – more correctly perhaps, that I’ve – adopted.

When you have an understanding that God has a personal interest in, and claim upon, your life, you consider what might be His plan for you, and you seek to find His path. As a young fellow it was important to me that the one I marry should have a similar desire as I to find and fit into God’s plan and follow His path. And now, despite many ups and downs and ins and outs, we have an assurance that He has guided us through life by His Holy Spirit.

Although I loved my work in the music industry the time came when it seemed to be God’s leading that we emigrate from the UK to Canada, after which I was nudged into pursuing pastoral service. Following that path took us to numerous addresses around the Province of Ontario.

And now, it might appear there’s something of a nomadic gene in us, showing up in retirement, since after living in our present home for barely 15 months, we’re on the move again – but not far.

This time we’re heading several houses up on the same street. My present path in life has me doing a little pulpit supply, taking nursing home and residence services, often with a musical component. And so I need to put in some practice, now and then. Besides, I compose and make music for relaxation and enjoyment.

We like our rented duplex, but (always a ‘but,’ eh?) . . . but there’s no deadening between the walls of the two halves of our current residence. Our lifestyle and schedules are different to those of our neighbours. We haven't received any complaints from them about my piano and accordion playing and occasional singing (no complaints?–amazing, eh?). However, since even conversation travels through those walls, I know most certainly our neighbours can’t escape my music-making, and I’m conscious of that. The result is that I do less and less of it.

As a rent-paying citizen I’m probably within my legal rights to make music between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. in our home. However, I represent my Lord and don’t want to be a source of irritation to our neighbours, and so it costs.

My wife and I prayed for wisdom, asking the Lord what we should do. Then, out of the blue came the opportunity to rent a single dwelling a few doors along. Despite the higher cost, we consider that in view of the liberty and flexibility the situation affords, it seemed to be a god-sent solution.

Most of our worldly goods have already made the trip up the street, and the move should be completed by the end of this week, when the larger, heavier items get moved in.

Over the years I’ve met people who hardly know what it is to relocate to another home. A friend of ours, Shirley, is in her 70s and has only moved house once in her life. I can scarcely imagine what that would be like.

In our case decisions to uproot and relocate over the past more than four decades have mostly been ours. However, what we understood of God’s call on our lives and what was best for those we served was a big motivator and source of input into the making of each decision.

I’ve found that even this present one, while accommodating us for our comfort, is also influenced by considerations pertaining to the working out of a sense of call and what better serves us in our present role as representatives of the One who called us. That includes our being “wise as serpents and innocent [harmless]as doves.”* And so, we go the extra mile and pay the extra bucks.

Peter A. Black is the weekly inspirational columnist at The Watford Guide-Advocate,
and the author of “Parables from the Pond,” a book that is finding various applications and venues among children, families, educators, adults and senior adults(Word Alive Press; ISBN 1897373-21-X).

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