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In the summer of my sophomore year, my brother went to a two-week seminar thing called Summit. It's hosted at Bryan college in Dayton, TN. Anywho, we dropped him off sometime in mid-spring. He enjoyed his time there and soon we were on our way down there to pick him up. On the way through Tennessee and the neighboring states, my parents began commenting on how green the foliage was and how pretty everything looked in bloom. You must understand that, in Minnesota, we were still in the mud-and-frost stage of spring, so this whole idea of things being in full bloom was a pleasant surprise.
We picked up John and headed back. Mom and Dad kept discussing how beautiful everything was. We made it home. Mom and Dad kept talking. I remember the feeling of growing dread that creapt up for the next few weeks as Mom and Dad began toying with the idea of moving to Tennessee. The ideas gradually became dreams and then plans.
Admittedly, I was a brat regarding Tennessee. I wasn't exactly happy in Minnesota, but I knew that that definitely would not improve with a move away from home. I may not have been absolutely content, but I sure as heck didn't want to leave everything and everyone I knew and loved. Looking back, I agree with my parents that it was what God wanted us to do and that it was good in a few ways.
Regardless, I didn't realize that at the time and I wasn't very happy about it. I fought tooth and nail the whole way. Not that my parents were completely understanding, either. It seemed at several times like we didn't talk about anything besides Tennessee at supper anymore. Dad's jokes became gradually more pro-south.
Anywho, the next summer, I headed off to Summit and they moved down while I was there. Summit was cool. I made several wonderful friends who I still treasure. And then it ended, and I got to enjoy the rest of the summer in Tennessee. I was grateful to have my best friend down with us for a month. But he eventually had to head back to Minnesota, leaving us down there.
Long story short, we were down there for a year and a half. Then God saw fit to bring us back. I cannot begin to express what a relief this was. We had built a house down there and had it burn. We had been to half a dozen churches, several of them unusual or even scary, before finding one to stick with. My mom had been through the most hellish job of her career. Above all else, we had all spent a long time away from family and friends. We were ready to come home.
They moved back in March while I was still finishing up my spring semester. I wasn't too bummed about spending six weeks alone at college. I had friends there. And besides, I had my friends online whom I'd known for three years. I was set.
The weeks went fast. Dead week came and went. Then there were finals. And after that, there was a bizzare vacuum. Finals week is always weird because there's always someone who finishes on Monday and then you don't see them until the next semester. Well, I was moving away. I had to part with several good friends that I knew I'd probably never see again.
Overall, things went well. I passed all my tests and classes with A's. Dad came and I hopped in the truck. We picked up our horses and started the long journey back. Eighteen hours later, we were home. Home. Home!
Our new place was on the other side of town from where we had lived before. As I like to tell people, "We moved twenty miles with a slight two-thousand mile detour." Regardless, we had a house. We had land. We had Minnesota.
Our family, friends, and especially our church family had missed us. They told us that on the few times we were able to visit. They told us over the phone. And you know what? They said they missed me. My family was up six weeks before me, so it seemed like people were noticing a gap. They noticed I was missing and told my family so. My family told me over the phone. I was filled with gratitude for their caring.
The first few weeks were a period of exhaustion and relief. I went to church and youth group, but not much else. I started talking to my old friends again. But something was different. The say you can never go home. They're right.

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