October 5, 2009

Why Wisconsin?

So way back in the day, in land far away, I did this internship in Texas. Texas is made out of red dirt and it's heat is hotter than a thousand hells. There, the heat comes down from above and in from the sides and it kind of wafts up from the ground. An inescapable heat, way harsher than Africa. Dawn might challenge me on this. Anyway. At this internship I learned a lot about God, and people who follow God. I met amazing people who would end up shaping my world. I was also introduced to Belgian waffles. A bunch of us interns trained for and hiked Pike's Peak, but long after that mountain I was still eating waffles. It caught up with me. In some circles that internship is now known for a graceless militancy and apparently some people went there and got pushed down hills and had to get therapy because they came out feeling bullied. All I know is, my internship was awesome. I never got pushed down a hill, but if had, I still would've been paying a lot of money for it.

The friends God ended up rewarding us with landed in Wisconsin, right on the edge of Lake Michigan. Come here and you think she is the reason. Really it was to join themselves to a church body called Living Light. But the lake is nonetheless majestic and far-reaching in beauty, and has many moods.

I think everyone who thinks they're going to Wisconsin but gets here and sees Lake Michigan is a bit smitten by her beauty. Maybe it's because the expectations are so low in the first place. Funny thing is, we thought we were saying goodbye to every shred of natural beauty when we left the state of Virginia! Anyhow, in attempt to keep in touch with many of the friends we made in red-dirt Texas, we've visited here over the years.

Last year, right before we started our thru-hike, we came to Racine for a week and put a very small dent in the large task of meeting all the new babies our friends all over the country are having. On that trip we came to a Sunday meeting at Living Light and it kinda messed us up. It wasn't like we hadn't been to wonderful churches, cause we have. It was the start of being ruined for a certain type of church government that has to do with a plurality of elders overseen by an apostle on the move. It's a lot of church talk, really, but the bottom line is that we felt really challenged. The next thing I remember is my sister making us sweet potato pancakes for breakfast. I got my trail name. She drove us to Georgia and left us in the woods. We started hiking.

Much to our surprise, there wasn't much time for meditating in the woods or even big talks about our future. It was mainly hiking, conquering pain, cold and bad attitudes, reveling atop yet another summit, basking in epic views, planning town stops, and dozing off to sleep with maps in hand each night in the tent. The bible we carried weighed too much. We mailed it home before we hit Tennessee. All of that to say, hiking the trail wasn't like a magic key that unlocked the next step for us. A lot of hikers experience this. You get to the end of this amazing journey and can't help but ask ". . . now what?" People dedicate books and chapters of books to this subject alone. "Reentry to the Real World." I read about one lady who hiked the trail and couldn't bring herself to sleep on a mattress when she finally got home. She slowly had to detox from tent-life. I think she still uses leaves for toilet paper and braids her armpit hair.

Anyway. After the trail we were haunted by something this apostle guy John Lalgee had said to us during our Wisconsin visit. He said "In the end, I would encourage you to ask God to clarify and increase the vision he has put in your hearts and then be faithful to it, whatever the cost. This seems to be the way for all that would serve God and His purposes in their day." I think when he said that Ennio Morricone started playing in the background and it made me want to buy Dustan the sword he's always wanted. It was quite clear that that wasn't John's veiled way of saying "And so you should move here." More or less, it meant we're responsible for what we have revelation about. No one was asking us to come, but we couldn't get away from what we felt to be God joining us to this specific expression of the body. We moved.

The cost of moving was leaving our land, our peoples, our friends, our families. The upside is that Dustan doesn't have to work at Fasmart anymore. I don't even know how long he worked there. All I know is that he had to get up at 3am and learn how to manage the VA lottery and changing gas prices and beer stocking and the selling of candy bars and Big Gulps, which entails a surprising amount of paperwork. He put on weight and his face was grey. He never slept and if I woke him unexpectedly he'd blurt "Cash prepay inside!" Now he works in Milwaukee at a staffing company called Randstad.

I plan to get a job, but lately I have been too busy throwing tennis balls at the lake and scooping poop and choosing paint colors and then remixing them on my own. Now that I have been holed up for 3 months painting, organizing and cleaning everything in sight, I really am excited about getting a job. There's some promising stuff in the works that will hopefully be good. We shall see. Until then I just wanted to provide some context before this blog turns into what it was meant to be all along: pictures of my apartment for people back home.


  1. First to comment!!! Good thing I gave up sleeping! That’s a great intro for the next phase of “yous guys” blog-life. I’m looking forward to reading more.

  2. I love you, Bets, and miss you! Come visit me in Africa. You would love it and teach me how to love it as well!

  3. This is awesome... Can't wait to read more. Dustan looks happy with his job... cool! I miss you!

  4. Yay! You have arrived back into the Internet, yessss...

  5. So glad to see you up and blogging again! I have TOTALLY missed reading your words and hearing you read them to me in my head! I miss you guys tons and wish you weren't so far away but glad God has placed you where you should be! Love you to pieces!! And can't wait to read more!

  6. Hey, I typed a big reply and then something messed up and erased it. Darn. Well, love you guys and miss you! Great to hear you are settling in. We're going to a VT game in Blacksburg this weekend. I'll tell the Blue Ridege hi for you.

  7. heh. try that again. AWESOME.

    :) marie/tailgate


Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked. But it's not like a compulsive need to be liked. Like my need to be praised.