I’m a man in a new place.
In many ways it is all quite familiar. There are the usual fast food chains, Walmart, and shopping malls. But in many more ways, it all feels wondrously and overwhelmingly new. Southern hospitality is a real thing, we are living in a treetop condo, and there are palms trees. Everything from the street lights to the cultural tone exhibit subtle (and no so subtle) differences.
It’s definitely not Indiana. And that’s ok. Kinda.
The truth is that I really do like it here in Pensacola. We’ve gained much. But it doesn’t feel like home yet. I suppose that will take time. In the meantime, our family feels like strangers and aliens. Like outsiders. Or better yet, people hanging out at another person’s family reunion. Everyone is welcoming, and they share their food, but we’re still posing as Floridians. We’re not fully a part of it all.
Uncertainty is a thing too. Our steps hesitate. We don’t quite know where we’re going at times. Thankfully there’s something called Google Maps. The “turn left in a quarter mile” voice is surprisingly reassuring.
But amid all the change and flux, it was a sweet blessing to sit in Sunday school and listen to a man (I can’t remember his name) speak about God’s grace in a warm and vulnerable way. Even though he was a complete stranger, my wife and I felt an immediate connection with him and the people sitting around us.
The bond of Christ is truly an amazing reality. He knits His people together into a family, allowing us to not only say, “Abba, Father,” but, “Greetings, brother.” What a wonder indeed that a person can trek across the country, enter a building that is not their own, and feel genuinely welcome.
The gospel truly transcends the lines on a map. It creates and forges relationships. It provides harmony of thought. And it places each and every one of the sheep into a Vine and pasture where they can not only graze together, but run after the voice of their Master. God's grace is so very good.
A Few pictures
(First, Felicity dancing on back screened in porch. Second, I'm heading to the beach. Third, a picture out our front door)