Last week, I started a new series called “I Remember When…”. In this series of posts, I intend on exploring memories from my past. Part of this exercise is to force me to recall things from the depths of my memory bank. Another aspect of this series is to share other sides of me. I want Jon Stolpe Stretched to be a place to share my stretch marks and where I stretch those who read along.
When I was eight years old, my dad took a job as a full-time pastor far away from home. I was born in Illinois and had lived there my “whole” life up to that point. When my parents said we were moving to New Jersey, I’m not sure that I understood what was about to happen. We were leaving my comfort zone near my friends and close to my grandparents and other extended family.
I remember the Mayflower truck arriving at our house in Wheaton, Illinois to load up with boxes and furniture from our house. After the truck left our house, my parents, my brother, our dog, and I packed into our 1972 brown Chevy Impala and started our journey to the east coast.
On our way, I remember driving along the Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania Turnpikes. We picked up a map at the first service area in Indiana, and I tracked our progress as we slowly made our way east. I don’t know what the early settlers were thinking, but I had the sense that I was experiencing the same feelings without the smell and wind of a horse-drawn carriage.
My parents had already picked out our three bedroom split level house on Glenwood Road in Lumberton, New Jersey. I don’t remember the actual moving-in experience, but I do remember the excitement of getting my own bedroom. I would no longer be sharing a room with my younger brother. I also remember meeting a few of the kids in the new neighborhood. This new gang of kids was a bit rougher than my friends back in Illinois, and I think it took a little while to find close friends. But eventually, New Jersey became home!
So much of who I am today is a result of the things I did and the friends I made in New Jersey. Was the move scary? Yes, I would say so. Was it good? Yes, it was good. I’m thankful for God’s direction in our families life.
It’s good to reflect on this memory. I still don’t like change, but this reminds me that God always has the bigger picture in mind.
When have you moved in your life – literally and figuratively? What is stretching you these days?
What else do you want to know about my move half way across the country?