Moving Forward: Chapter 7| March 18, 2020
“Your acceptance of your situation is very refreshing. We don’t always have to know the end"
The first few months after our move were tough. My husband was experiencing chinuch issues with his new colleagues similar to the ones we thought he’d left behind. It was perplexing and distressing that the dynamic seemed to be repeating itself.
My husband wasn’t happy and for the first couple of weeks expressed regret over the move we’d made. Again, I found myself needing to strengthen him, while at the same time I wasn’t happy myself.
Ironically, in one of my conversations with my daughter in seminary, she shared something her teacher had said. Her teacher was discussing how sometimes one tries to run away from a problem rather than fixing the root of it.
“For example, Mommy,” she said excitedly, “my teacher described the scenario of someone who isn’t getting along with their coworkers at work and decides to change jobs, only to find that the same issues rear their heads in the new place. Doesn’t that sound familiar, Mommy?”
My husband and I tried to be very honest with each other and share the ups and downs of the adjustment. We had to keep returning to the place of not completely understanding what had gone on, but trusting that we needed to work out certain issues, connect to Hashem, and realize that once we’d made the move, we should trust that it was the “station” in life we were meant to visit.
It took time, but as the months passed, we began to fall into a routine. The kids were getting used to their new schools, my husband to his new job, and I was slowly building up my business and gaining a circle of friends.
I continued to leave my comfort zone and interact with people I didn’t know. I went over to mothers during parent-teacher conferences, introduced myself to strangers, and tried to grow the very successful shiur. Slowly, I felt my attitude become more positive, and enjoyed watching the ripples a mother and wife can create through her accomplishments.
Recently, I attended the simchah of a very close friend in our old hometown. It was so familiar and relaxing to spend time in the company of friends who have known me for years. They asked me questions that were so familiar by now. How are things going in your new town? Are the kids adjusting? Is your husband’s job working out?
Some clucked in validation, others gave words of chizuk. I tried to be positive. I met a mutual friend whom I’ve known for many years who lives in a different city. She had also come in from out of town for the simchah. She’d heard that we’d moved but we hadn’t been in touch for a while.
“So tell me, Estie,” she asked. “Are you happy?”
For some reason, her question threw me off guard, and I stumbled for an answer.
“Yes, we’re getting used to it,” I finally responded. “But I can’t expect a relationship of six months to be equivalent to those I’ve been cultivating for the last 15 years.”
Her question left me thinking.
I stayed overnight at one of my old friends before returning home. I shared with her how this question had upset me. “I’m trying hard to make new friends, to have a positive attitude, to be there for my husband and children and not to stew on the negative. It’s been difficult for me, my husband, and on the family dynamic. And now I also have to be happy? I’m not sure I’m truly holding there yet.”
“Estie,” she responded. “I’m reminded of the story of my daughter’s friend who was a great girl, but for some reason wasn’t accepted to any of the high schools in her hometown that would have been appropriate for her. She ended up going to Gateshead. And married the principal’s son. What she thought was such a terrible situation she couldn’t understand ended up being the start of a beautiful life for her.
“Your acceptance of your situation is very refreshing. We don’t always have to know the end. You’re on a journey of growth. It’s normal to have days when you’re feeling up and days of down. I don’t hear you complaining. You’re on a very meaningful path. Sometimes we can see the messages clearly, but most times it’s a process that takes time.”
I left town feeling uplifted. I’m human, I admitted to myself, trying to grow and accept, to put HaKadosh Baruch Hu first and foremost.
So am I happy we made this move? To be honest, it’s hard to answer yes with a full heart. But I know that I’m on the way, moving forward.
(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 685)
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