We had made the decision to leave our home state (New York) and move across the continent to Southern California (read here for part one of this journey and read here for part two of this journey). We told our friends and family and they were all very surprised. Many were supportive and many upset.
It wasn’t easy. The biggest blow was the relational sacrifice. I dreamed of my kids growing up with our friend’s kids, having sleepovers with their cousins and camping on the East Coast. We would no longer be headed over to Syracuse for the big Italian family Thanksgiving. We would no longer get face time with our pastors and mentors. We would have to leave the church we met in, married in and dedicated our babies in.
Another thing that was really hard to leave was the land. I was born in the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York (in-fact, I’m named after the tallest mountain in New York, Mount Marcy). There is something about the trees, the air, the lakes, the green that is in my bones. It has taken me a while to appreciate the more desert climate (and I’m still getting there). Over the past eight years, the trees have grown up a lot here. I joke that God has made them grow faster for me, since I love them so much.
Relationally, the consequences were some people writing us off and accusing us of “being out of God’s will”. That was really hard. We knew we heard from God and we were disappointed that our loved ones didn’t trust that. But it would be naive to expect no resistance. We know the resistance was rooted in disappointment and grief.
We were ready to risk for the possibility of more. And a funny thing happened after we made our decision, others followed. Not to California, but in other choices in their life. We were having a conversation with one of our friends about a year later and they said, “We never would have thought you guys would do that. Not Joe and Marcy! It made us question the possibilities.” That’s what we did. We risked and went against the grain of what was expected. As a result, others made a move, others made choices and others questioned the norm in their lives.
I think we will be surprised when we get to heaven and see the effects our choices had on those around us. Our inactivity or action can spur or stagnate the pot. A recent article by Harvard Business Review talks about the benefits of sitting next to a hard worker. As you can guess it makes a huge difference. It may be hard to take action when God has laid a choice on your heart, but it is worth the risk for you and those watching you choose to risk.
Part 4 will tell you of our road trip across the country…