Our Next Adventure


In a few weeks we will pack up our current house – my uncle’s beautiful cabin on forty acres of woods in southern Lancaster County – and move into the city. We’ll trade a patch of green grass and a place where Sam runs outside whenever he wants for a small backyard and an endless stream of pleas for him to stop going outside on his own. We’ll trade the noise of insects and morning birds for that of cars driving past and sledgehammers dismantling the building out back. We’ll trade a window that looks out into a tangle of branches for a window that looks out into a tangle of streets and alleys.

Our sixteen months in the wilderness has been a wonderful time for us as a family. We’ve bonded, learned how to depend on each other, and learned to trust one another. We’ve been snowed in and without electric multiple times. I’ve had to clear trees off the lane, and there were many nights when Maile and I lay in bed listening to the rain and wind pound the roof.

It was a beautiful time.

But I can’t wait to move, because it was also very isolating, living out in the boonies, and our season of isolation is over. Of course we weren’t completely isolated, but when we were home, it was just the six of us. Now, when we are home, it will be the six of us plus Miss Joyce next door and Anthony next door and a nice couple a few houses down and two young ladies we know just around the corner and my Aunt Kate two blocks away. It will be me stopping to talk to the people emerging from the barber shop and the tattoo parlor across the street.

Our sixteen months in the wilderness have prepared us very well for community.

I often hear Christians argue that, if you’re a Christian, you really should live in the city because that’s where Jesus would be. That’s where we are needed the most. I understand that argument, but I also cannot abide people telling other people what they should and should not do. What’s “best.” There are seasons to everyone’s life, seasons when the country might call, seasons when the city reaches out to you, seasons for public school and private school and homeschooling. Seasons for taking a break from television, or church, or sugar. Seasons for living simply and seasons for enjoying the extravagance of life.

How often we mistakenly take a beautiful season we are in and try to force it on everyone around us. How little we know of the lives we try to shoehorn into our own particular pattern of living.

So in a few weeks we will move into the city, and I will write on our front porch (ala Ken Mueller), and I will watch the people that go by and talk to those who want to talk. We’ll get to know our neighbors and their pets and their children and I’ll take the kids to the park and the Y down the street and we’ll figure out what to do about church.

It’s a new season, a new adventure. I’ll be writing about it, so if you care to join us here, that would be great.

30 Replies to “Our Next Adventure”

  1. Thank you. We had ten beautiful years in a southside Chicago neighborhood and God was there. We now live in an old farmhouse just outside a small town. God is here, too. Looking forward to reading of your new adventures in city living.

    By the way, it sounds like we must be neighbors as well as fellow Deeper Story contributors. I live in southern Chester County, not far from the Lancaster County line.

    1. That’s awesome, Christie. I had no idea you lived in the area. I do a little writers’ gathering every once in a while – let me know if you’re interested, and I’ll let you know when the next one comes up.

  2. Seasons. It’s how we’ve always viewed life and how we often encourage others who feel overwhelmed with their current season. It’s not forever. It changes. We’ve had seasons of missions, of living in the city, of public school, homeschool, work, no work. When we are able to step back and realize that He operates in seasons, it leaves room for enjoying right where we are right now, and space to wonder what season is coming next.

    1. Amen, sister.

      (And in other news, I hope you’ll still make the trek to the writers’ meetups when I start them again? I know it will be a little further for you…)

  3. Congrats on the house Shawn! If you ever get a pretzel craving on Tuesdays (training days) stop by the office!

  4. Thanks for posting this, Shawn. It is helping me gain some perspective as my family and I are also about to move into a new season of life. This season doesn’t look like most people would think it should. It doesn’t look like I expected it to. It is scary to walk into something unknown, but it is exciting too.

  5. Shawn. Great post. When one chapter ends we simply turn the page, we don’t throw the book away! It is life’s history book and it has been good. Now onto the next exciting chapter. You can follow me on my blog, richsense.org. I would love to hear from you.

  6. Beautiful. Thanks Shawn. Wonderfully said. Here’s to a fantastic next season for you guys!

    1. Thanks, Dave. Of course this post isn’t true for your family, who we expect to immediately drop everything and move into the city with us.

    1. Well, I wish I could say I did it out of the kindness of my heart, but I really don’t know any better way of processing my experiences. But thanks for coming along on the journey, Katie.

  7. Congrats!! I loved this part: “How often we mistakenly take a beautiful season we are in and try to force it on everyone around us. How little we know of the lives we try to shoehorn into our own particular pattern of living.”

    How true…I wonder how many times I’ve done this…hopefully not too many!

    1. Thanks, Laura. I’d say it’s something we do with the best of intentions, much of the time, but it’s certainly not helpful. I’m trying not to impose my journey on others anymore, but it takes intentionality.

  8. Welcome (back) to the city! My husband and I both grew up in rural Lancaster County but now find our home in the city (going on 8 years). We’re raising our family here. We find there are indeed “bests” in both worlds.

    Your posts are so meaningful. I always look forward to reading them. Be encouraged to keep at this good work.

    Pretty sure we attended Messiah at the same time because your name is familiar. I graduated in ’97 with an English degree.

    1. Hi, Dori. Thanks for reading and for your encouraging comment. Which street do you live on? We’re moving to James Street. And yes, I did graduate from Messiah, way back in ’99, also in English.

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