On this day six years ago I boarded a plane at LAX bound for Glasgow, Scotland. I didn't know how long I would be here, but if I'd have placed a bet then, I would have lost. Seeing as I've never lived in one place for more than six years (and that was back in elementary school), I couldn't imagine that Glasgow would be the next time I repeated that home-stand.
It's almost cliché (not to mention impossible to quantify) to say that far more than six years worth of experiences have transpired in that time. Growth, grief, faith and development largely describe the past six years of my family's lives.
In many ways it's been harder than I could have ever anticipated; an uphill struggle all the way. But at the same time, I've never felt that I belonged anywhere other than here... going through exactly what I've gone through here. And I feel today precisely as I did two days after arriving... that inasmuch as I can say about anywhere else in the world, it's home.
Since we've lived here for six years without a car, I wish that my shoes could tell the many stories of the places I've been and the people I've met; the streets I've walked and the cafés and pubs I've frequented. I've walked to Yorkhill Hospital to visit Jasheen in the Queen Mother's maternity ward both times that she was admitted there - for Gabrielle and Isabelle's births. Yes, we've had two little girls during our time here, both of which are as much Scottish as they are anything else. I dragged Jasheen onto a start-up ministry team that I will spend the rest of my days trying to convince her wasn't a cult. We've made friends that will be that for our lifetime, and said goodbye to folks we may never see or speak to again. We've cared for friends through marriages of infidelity, abuse and gross neglect - and walked through divorce with some of those same friends. From the elderly to budding teens, we've allowed our home to be a place of safety, comfort and refuge - be it play dates, movie nights, afternoon tea or bed & breakfast. And now I've turned Jasheen into a pastor's wife - by no fault of her own (ha!).
These past six years have been everything but dull. Life hasn't been easy. Being married to me (I'm sure) hasn't been easy. I'm sure even working with me has been challenging for some, to say the least. When we think of what might have been, had we stayed in California near friends and family, in beautiful weather and extreme convenience and relative luxury, we simply can't imagine doing life anywhere else. Glasgow isn't perfect, but it's perfectly suited to us... for such a time as this.
Six years... eligible for citizenship... a blink in light of eternity... just the beginning?