Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Welcome Home

I never planned on living in Kentucky. Ever. Originally I'm from Indiana. People from Indiana have an unfounded superiority complex about The Bluegrass State. The average Hoosier has their mind made up: Kentucky is backwoods, bare feet, and grits, served up in a dirty ashtray. So, like I said I never planned on living in Kentucky.

About 7 years ago husband had just been laid off. We had a 5 month old. And we left sunny Arizona in December to meet cold, rainy Louisville in winter. As I walked off the plane to my new home I had little more than my stereotypes and a cantankerous heart as secret companions. This was not going to turn out well.

We moved into an outdated apartment roughly the size of a walnut. Our downstairs neighbor was named Pig. I don't think he had a last name. (I'm not naming him "Pig" to protect his identity. His name was Pig.) He had a muddy, sag-faced blood hound chained to his porch, who howled all hours of the night. Pig had a rusted out red pick up, complete with Confederate flag and gun rack. Now Pig was a busy guy with two hobbies: balancing beer bottles on the curb and partying. Amazingly enough he was never available to baby sit for us.

As months passed, the seasons changed, but I didn't change along with them. I held onto my bitterness and loved it like an adulteress. I was not open to what God wanted or needed from me. Most of my free time was spent focusing on what I didn't have. If misery was what I wanted then God was going to let me marinate. No, God was not going to force me out of the hole I dug for myself. But for reasons beyond what I can understand, no matter how deep my hole became, He always held out a rope for me. Finally it dawned on me that in order to grab that rope I had to take both hands off my shovel.

It took me about 3 years to stop digging. The climb out of the hole wasn't quick or pleasant, then again, doctoring the wounds of self-destruction never is. But the journey out of the hole made me strong because I had to face my demons head on. (In the months to come you'll hear more about this process.) I had to stop lying to myself.

This is what I now know to be true: Louisville is a beautiful city. Flowering pear trees and Dogwoods make for a vibrant Spring. In the summer I could lose myself watching heaping barges float down the Ohio river, delivering coal and lumber. In the fall, the trees are spectacular. In the winter, if it snows enough, I find the people I love the most delighted by the red-cheeked, brisk wonder of it all. Louisville is my home. This is where I want to be. Any place can be home if God puts you there.

You see, I had a choice to accept my circumstances and grow into them, or reject them and watch everyone I loved outgrow me. I chose to walk both roads, one right after another. The journey was longer and harder than it needed to be. I've still got the scars to prove it.

Maybe you'll never move to Louisville, but sooner or later you'll face a crossroads, too. You can be like me and do it the hard way. Or you can decide now that you will never get your shovel out and never start digging. Instead, you can do the smart thing and trust God. That's when you'll look around and realized you've arrived. I hope you get to hear Him say, "Welcome Home."


Skerrib said...

Are you the same Stacy from Louisville from SCL comment-fame/infamy? Rock on.

teachmom said...

Wonderful post, Stacy! I enjoy also reading your hilarious comments on SCL, and was delighted to "hear" you started a blog for "just me" ;) to read!
I really liked reading this. It told a lot about you and it's always nice getting to know others! And, everything you said well, it's all too true! Thanks for sharing!

Ellen said...

Hi SFL! I'm another SCL reader. Somebody sold you out on his comments over there and you're sure to be inundated with new readers now! ;o)

Anyways, I grew up in Western KY, and my husband is from Louisville. I have to say that your description of neighbor "Pig" is hilarious! Other readers may think you made him up...but I am here to attest, as another KY girl, that despite the fact that it is 2008, this person does indeed still exist.

Thanks for blogging!

JennyM said...

I feel the same way about our move here. West Coast Canadians don't "do" 5 months of winter like Easteners. When we tell God our plans, He must smile and pat our heads. Maybe that's why I get migraines?

Eastern KY Pastor said...

Glad you are posting! I grew up in Glasgow and when God called me into ministery and subsequently to go to Southern, I was not too thrilled about moving to the Big City! Aside from having to drive a half hour to get anywhere, I thoroughly enjoyed Louisville. Now, that I'm in Eastern Kentucky, I still have to drive a half hour to get anywhere, but God still makes it home! Thanks for answering our calls for a blog. I'll be checking in!

alicia said...

Stacy! You have no idea how happy I am that you've started your own blog! w00t! :D

And jennym, west coast Canadians are just a bunch of pansies.. :)

Amy said...

Hi SFL! I'm glad to read your blog, as I was getting pretty good at searching out your comments on SCL. You've made quite a reputation for yourself. :)
I enjoyed this blog. My husband and I were from IN, and started out our first year of marriage in Louisville while he attended SBTS. We lived south of the airport in Fairdale, and I think I can relate to your neighbors. Anyway, we were broker than broke and argued a lot. We made it through that year, but it was a tough one that I do not desire to revisit. There were sweet moments, but I remember feeling so lost and sometimes bitter that we had to struggle through our first year that much. We live in IL now, though we still heart IN. Whenever we go to visit Louisville now, we say, "This is really a great city. Why didn't we ever see it when we lived here?" And then we remember it's because we had too much seminary, work, bills, and feeling sorry for ourselves to accomplish first. But the times we had a picnic in the park by the river, or strolled campus, or went to Krispy Kreme for a "big night out"...well, there were sweet moments in Louisville. It is a great city, and I'm glad you are able to appreciate it more now. I look forward to more of your blogs!

Dog snob said...

Hum, good post. That crossroads sucks, as I'm learning, but it's nice to know something stable can come from it on the other side. I look forward to reading :)

Princess Bride said...

Hey, where in Arizona did you live? We're in Gilbert. It is 100 million degrees here right now, so fret not. You're not missing a thing. My husband just got back from a church conference in northern Arizona and I am struggling to control my bitterness.

Stacy from Louisville does have a certain ring to it that Stacy from Mesa or Stacy from Payson lacks. I think God has you in the right place. :)

Stacy from Louisville said...

Hello Princess Bride!
I lived in Mesa. Went to Central Christian Church. My first summer out there made even my eyelids sweat. We got married, outside, at 7:30 in June. 110 degrees. Yes, we were just that stupid.

E-mail me about the bitterness if you want. Let's hash it out.


Princess Bride said...

Hi Stacy!
We were supposed to get married in May, but changed it to March. One of the best decisions we've ever made! I could wear a long sleeved, high necked dress without melting into a puddle like the wicked witch of the west. :)

I just heard that Central Christian has great athletics programs for kids. I'm planning on looking into that.

My computer won't let me email for some reason, but I will say that I am starting to get over my bitterness. It's harder to leave and come back to the heat than to just stick it out. He's suffering more than me right now.

I'm so glad you've got a blog! Now, when are you getting your own facebook group like Jon?

Neyhart said...

Hey! How come I'm just now finding your blog! I'm excited to read it!