It was a sunny, beautiful summer morning in Durango. My parents were there, as were our pastor and wife, and a couple friends. Matt left bright and early to pick up the moving truck, which is attached to a now (not then) funny story. Matt picked up the truck and was moving along back home at a very rapid speed. Whilst driving a tiny voice piped up in the back of his mind, Don't forget to release the parking brake on your car. Immediately he looked into the rear views and unbelievably there were flames! Literally flames coming from underneath the Jetta!
He screeched to the side of the road and was frantically trying to wave people down to help him put out the fire that was infernoing our car and nobody would stop! Finally an older man and his wife pulled over and sloshed bottled water as quickly as they could and miraculously were able to get it put out.
This all served to fill Matt with lots of peace and joy at the start of our two-day journey north.
(I had actually never seen him so angry and flustered.)
But our car was saved, our house was packed, the truck was loaded, the good-byes were made, and we were off. Full of excitement and curiosity at what this new season held.
Knowing what and who we know now it's impossible to imagine that we didn't know then. How could we not know the friends we would have and the places we would live and the sons that would reshape the very center of our hearts? They're all so deeply ingrained into who we are now, how could we have been absent of them then?
After two days of driving we pulled into Missoula in the dark. I had never stepped foot in this place, everything was foreign to me. We drove down Higgins looking for our "hotel." Hotel is a vast stretch of the imagination. Seedy place across from the seedy adult bookstore is a more apt description. We fell exhausted into bed and woke to begin our first day in this new place.
Our friend from Durango flew up that day, for the day, to help us move our things in. Who does that? To this day one of the most humbling and kindest things anyone has ever done for us.
We spent the next few days unpacking, settling in, getting to know this new city. We heard somehow of this thing called Church at the Fair. It was the first year in which dozens of churches around Missoula were coming together to worship together as a united body of Christ at the fair. We went hoping to meet some people. (We didn't.) I watched all the people greeting each other, knowing and being known by one another. It seemed so foreign and impossible to me. What would that look like to know and be known in this unimaginably different and unfamiliar place?
I say all that to say that yesterday we again attended Church at the Fair. But this time we were accompanied by our boys. And we sat with friends. And I stopped to chat with another on the way in. And throughout the morning and afternoon we made small talk with people we know and love. And I called my mom who now lives ten minutes away to tell her about Micah loving the pony ride.
Everything was different.
But we couldn't have gotten here without having been there. We couldn't skip the hard parts. In fact the hard parts were part of the story.
As one man said,
Lord, to everything that has been, thank you. And to everything that will be, yes.
I'm a ways from there yet, but I'm closer than I was five years ago. And Montana has a lot to do with that. Happy 5th anniversary, Missoula.
|Our first apartment|
|Matt cooking our first meal for our first guests and friends.|
|Our first friends and dinner guests, Chris and Gloria. |
Still dear friends today.
|First visit to Glacier Park. Always beautiful.|
|Our first winter here.|
(It was literally close to zero degrees in this picture. We're tough like that.)