Three Countries, Six Months

Yes, three countries in six months. I am not talking about the number of countries I have visited but the number of countries I have lived in over the past six months. I can assure you, this was not the plan. 

Traditional-Ethiopian-Birthday
Axum-Ethiopia

You know when you think you are living one story and you find yourself down the road living a completely different story? I thought we would be in Ethiopia for a while raising a family, growing a business, and building a life in that foreign land. Well the plans changed, and we found ourselves in a school bus in America trying to discern our calling, which ended up being more of a process than either of us were expecting. We were having lots of fun on our new adventure on the road, but in terms of discerning what was next, there were lots of closed doors, minds and hearts changed, and everything seemed to be happening really slowly. 

Bus-living-the-spencers
bus-living-the-spencers

Suddenly, there was a call, a decision, then everything moved really fast and within three months we had moved our family, including our dog, from the bus life in America to Uganda.

Yes, we have moved to Uganda. I had just started to settle into bus-life, with window blinds and an essential oil diffuser, when I began to make a list of what I needed to pack for Uganda. We were excited, and it felt like what God was calling us to do, but it was still challenging, and I didn’t have any more energy in reserve to start over again in an unknown place. I didn’t have the emotional vigor to wrestle with all of the questions and doubts about what my place was in this new context.

But here I am, starting over again—setting up bank accounts, getting local IDs, trying to find the right car, installing internet, figuring out where to do the shopping, what to cook, and somehow I am finding the energy in each day foreach day. 

What is it about starting over—new job, new relationships, new school, new town—that can be so exhausting? What is it about the unknown that can make me grasp for answers to my endless litany of questions? I want answers, but I am also scared to answer these questions right now with any certainty. With the roller coaster of the last year, I have found more certainty in the unknown than in what we thought we knew. Maybe it is better for me to not know anything right now and to take a rest from all of the questions.

living-in-Uganda-the-spencers
Ethiopia-to-uganda

 

A dear friend wrote out this quote for me when I was in another time of transition a few years back. I hung it up on the wall over my desk and I still read it often. In this season of the unknown it is speaking to me again.

 

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” - Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Don’t worry, we will still be living in the bus when we are back in the States for a few months this fall—part-time bus and part-time Uganda.