This time last year we had just gotten back from a trip to the south. We started in Florida and made our way up to North Carolina. In between, we made a stop in Atlanta, Georgia to visit some of my husband’s family. To be honest, Atlanta was not on my list of places that I wanted to visit. I actually advocated that we skip Georgia all together and just keep driving to North Carolina. My husband hadn’t seen these family members in a while and was really interested in visiting, so we did. We ended up spending 4 days in Atlanta and the surrounding suburbs and let me tell you people, I got my life there!
First, the family there was so loving and welcoming, they took us in, made ample amounts of time for us, and showed us around. There was so much to do, southern food and hospitality is everything and I got to see a Basquiat exhibit at the HIGH when I was there. Life goal completed! By the time the four days was over, I was like “leave me and the kids here – go grab our stuff, and in the meantime I’ll look for a house and schools!” We all loved it that much, we were willing to move on the spot. But alas being a responsible adult won and after North Carolina we came back home. But we came back home with the resolve that we were moving to Georgia.
The whole of last year was spent applying for jobs, calling and researching schools, scouting out neighborhoods and houses, and just waiting for opportunity to knock so that we could leave. We had wanted to leave Idaho for a few years now and had a list of reasons as to why we wanted to do so. Some of the reasons included access to better schools, availability of museums, concerts, and greater experiences, an international airport that would make traveling easier, but mostly we wanted our kids to grow up in a more diverse environment.
Summer ended, Fall came and my husband was steady and diligently applying for jobs. He was getting call backs and second interviews but nothing seemed to be a good fit or it would fall through completely. Winter came and still no job. In the meantime my sister in law had moved back to Idaho from Florida and would comment about how much she liked it here and that she was glad to be back. This was paired with the fact that every other day I was meeting people from other states that had moved here to raise their kids and were over the moon about how awesome of a place Idaho is, this continually had me scratching my head. I didn’t get it, being from this potato state, I’m not one of those super proud native Idahoans who wears around apparel with the great state and calls it Idahome (no offense if you are one of these peeps – it’s just not me). I was one of those people who’d been trying to get out of Idaho since I was 18 but event after event kept me here. I travel often and after every trip I’m trying to convince my husband to move (except Washington I just can’t do that rain!) The fact that all these people around me were loving Idaho coupled with the fact that my husband was getting doors closed left and right on the job front led me to believe that this was more than a coincidence.
Somewhere in the midst of the worst winter Idaho had seen in decades, I had a lot of time to think. I thought about life in general and how usually when doors keep getting shut on an area of your life, it’s best not to force your way through them anyhow. Doing so never ends well, at least for me, so I began to wrap my head around the fact that Idaho might have to be my place. And if it was going to be my place, what was I going to do to make it doable for me? I shot a quick prayer up God, “God I don’t like this place. Why are you making it impossible to leave here? I can live with not having all the things on my list but my kids need to be around more diversity so without that I have to leave.”
That pretentious prayer went up around January. Between January and now a lot has transpired (more on that later) but once I clearly saw that Georgia wasn’t happening, I began to look at my city as a choice rather than a condemnation. I tried to look at this place as if I was a person visiting for the first time – new restaurants, sure – festivals, let’s go – camping, more of it. Idaho didn’t change but I changed the way that I looked at Idaho. Rather than wallowing in my desire of being anywhere but here, I realized here wasn’t going anywhere so I might as well find a way to be happy here. This brings us to April and with April comes Easter. It had been on my husband’s heart for a while to try this church of a gentleman that we had met a year or so prior. I was very hesitant to do church but this gentleman was an incredibly down to earth, relatable human being - definitely not like anyone else that I had met who went by the calling of church leader, so I thought what the heck.
I committed to ONE service on Easter. We got ready Easter morning and went to church (also more on this later). We were received by the members of this church as if we were family, as if they knew us, I even caught myself thinking – “have I met these people before?” – they were that hospitable. As the service started my daughter tapped my arm, I leaned down to hear what she had to say, “There are SO many Black people in here mom! I’ve never seen this many Black people in Idaho before!” I looked around and she was right. I just shook my head and laughed to myself, well played God, well played.
When you pay attention to what life is trying to tell you, make the best of your circumstance, get out of your comfort zone, and intentionally ask for direction - even if it’s pretentions at first - unexpected blessings will come.