“Listen to your elders, not because they are always right but because they have more experiences of being wrong…”
We have been in Ohio the last few days visiting my (Lane’s) family and attending the wedding of one of my childhood friends. Being in Ohio has given me a lot of time to think about many things, especially because TJ and I have been wrestling with some big decisions as of late. Driving around my hometown, I realized just how attached I am to this place. Ohio will always have a big piece of my heart.
Growing up, all I wanted to do was “get out” of La Rue and out of Ohio. I couldn’t wait to explore beyond the little Amish country town where not only I had grown up, but my mom’s family has lived–and still farms–since 1832. My family roots are deeply planted in La Rue, Ohio. Those of you who know me well know I am kind of…averse…to roots. I’ve always been a wings kind of gal. Since the time I turned 18 the longest I lived in one place was Ypsilanti, MI for college; a grand total of four years. After that I moved almost every two years, by choice. What can I say? I like traveling, and feeling “stuck” somewhere never appealed to me. Even after we had Vivienne, TJ and I weren’t too keen on putting roots down anywhere but decided on Ohio. Fortunately, that didn’t last terribly long, because if TJ had lost his job when we lived in Ohio we wouldn’t have been able to jump in and start our business in the middle of farmland. Enter Charleston.
TJ grew up on Sullivan’s Island and his family still lives on James Island. Meanwhile, we’ve been attaching ourselves to Johns Island. When we purchased our boat we brought it to Charleston with the intent of staying for just ONE hurricane season. Here we are, about to enter hurricane season number two and no intentions of leaving Charleston any time soon. I didn’t think I would ever want to get “stuck” in Charleston, as I still believe it has too many people and not enough space (thanks, Ohioans…you can tell I married a local), but we easily slipped back into life there. TJ has reconnected with high school friends, we have a good church home and bible study group, Vivienne loves her school (as do I) and we are comfortable in South Carolina. However, I’ve feared getting “too involved” with anything or getting “too attached” to people because I fear roots. One thing I’m learning from God is to never say never. I said I would never live on a boat. I said I would never want to stay in Charleston long-term. I keep finding these things that I say “never” to keep happening and I’m 100 percent fine with it. God gives the ability to accept it in my own time, I suppose. That or it just takes me a ridiculously long time to accept things and He grants me huge amounts of grace.
Lately, TJ and I have been debating re-signing our marina slip lease for another 6-12 month stint. We have decided to sign another agreement. Slowly, we are putting down roots in Charleston. Don’t get me wrong, a life of adventure cruising the Caribbean is beyond enticing; photos posted by cruisers only further make me want to set sail for clear blue waters and never return. BUT what about family? You know, that thing that typically roots someone to a place and people. Family, the thing that I (admittedly) am almost as averse to as roots in a location. Taking Vivienne cruising to immerse her in other cultures would be great, and we are not saying it isn’t going to happen, but those cultures place a big emphasis on family. So, while we would be showing her these amazing other cultures, we would effectively be pulling her away from her family to place her in a culture where she won’t be surrounded by family. Yes, we have our marina family and they are FABULOUS but what about biological family? I’ve already lost my dad, which is why we thought cruising now would also be good, because life is short. Now I see it as, I already lost one parent and Vivienne never got to meet him. I want her to really know her other grandparents.
Vivienne’s grandparents are here…in the United States. I see the sheer joy on her face when she gets to visit any of them. I question how fair it is for us to take that from her and trade it in for seeing them once or twice each year. I didn’t have both sets of grandparents, my mom’s parents died while she was young. My dad’s parents are still around, but I never developed the closeness with them that I see Vivienne has with our parents. I don’t know what the right answer is, but I do know my mom, and TJ’s mom, are right. Family is more important than the consideration we have been giving it. God called us to moved onto our boat. He took us back to Charleston and, we believe He is asking to stay in Charleston longer than we planned. However, for our faithful friends, if you wouldn’t mind praying for us in regards to direction, that surely couldn’t hurt. We still feel a little lost, as our desires and plans don’t appear to be what God has planned and desires for us. However, I am realizing our moms are right. Family is important. Vivienne’s relationship with her grandparents is important. Our families can’t travel to visit us if we sail away, which isn’t fair to them or to our daughter. So, I’m left constantly repeating in my head the following verse:
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of The Lord that will stand.”
We are realizing how important family is but wrestling with the direction we feel God is leading. Ultimately, it is not our plans that stand but what God has designed for us. Also, in the case of how important family connections are…our moms were right.
Lane (and TJ) McKelvey
~~All things are possible for those who believe. -Mark 9:23~~