"I will never leave you." Hebrews 13:5
National Book Award winner Barry Lopez wrote in Arctic Dreams that some people are not "finished at the skin. They send luminous fibers into the soil around them." Leaving those soils that we have become a part of, Mr. Lopez notes, is like "an amputation." In this Twenty-first Century, many of us have to leave landscapes we’ve come to love. We follow our spouses to new job locales – or take them with us. We move to help out family or because the new landscape offers benefits we find we now need with a child with a disability or our own aging bones. We move after a disaster – fire and floods – or tragedy. Leaving home and making a new home can be painful even if it’s our choice. It’s said that when moving to a new town, it will take two years to feel "at home" and if the move was not our choice, it can take up to seven years before we are comfortable with the new doctor, the new church, the new neighborhood grocery store, that new soil.
Emma Wagner Giesy, the historical woman featured in Emma of Aurora, the Change and Cherish Three in One Series, moved across the continent first to travel with her husband who was chosen as a scout seeking a new site for their Christian communal society of 1853. Emma had to make a new life in a remote forested region of the Northwest. Later, she moved a second time…to protect her children from a poor choice she’d made in a second marriage following the death of her husband. She escaped with her four young children to Oregon and the communal society that had formed in Aurora south of Portland. Accepting the help of others took renewing trust in her own judgment, in the members of a society she was often at odds with, and most importantly in her belief that God was with her wherever she went and would always be.
To change is a constant in life’s journey; to cherish is a choice. We are often called to new landscapes and find we too are not "finished at the skin." Those fibers that help us make the soil our own are surely gifts from God sent to bring us mana and the strength to accept God’s promise that wherever we go we are not alone.
Original Devotion from Jane Kirkpatrick, author of Emma of Aurora