Monday, June 6, 2011

A Decade of Dutch

S. and I just realized that we passed the 10 yr. mark living in our little Northwest corner of the country this month. What began as a summer of work turned into a decade and- behold! I believe that foreign feeling might be roots! Alas...they might be attaching to the ground!

When my dad threw out the idea of moving to Lynden I was getting ready for my senior year of high school. "Just for fun" we came up to visit the small Dutch farming community. I found it quaint, endearing, and beautiful but knew enough to not take my dad seriously the first time around.
The seriousness grew quickly, however. That summer, as I drove my '89 Ford Tempo north following a line of U-Hauls and vehicles, I was almost laughing. Are we really doing this? I unpacked my room and enrolled in a new school mere days before my senior year began.

Being Dutch myself, I had never spent time with people other than my family who shared our heritage. It was a strange adjustment. We weren't the blondest, tallest, cleanest, or the most frugal anymore! I liked Lynden but had no plans to stay as college was coming quickly.

After three years of college and a year of marriage nowhere felt settled but I was accustomed to that because we moved often as I grew up. I was hoping S. might take a job in Southern CA, we were looking at grad schools on the east coast. But... we ran out of money. I evaluated our checkbook and told S., "we can pay one more month of rent or we can pay for a U-Haul. If you don't have a job by Wednesday then I say we call U-Haul."
We did.
My parents assured us that they could park a trailer in their driveway and connect us with some summer work in town. S. bar tended at the town's resort and I worked in the raspberries. By the end of the summer I began considering finishing school online so we could stay. We found a tiny house on Main Street with a window seat and a whopping 840 square feet. That's all it took for us. We made an offer and began to unpack some boxes.
By fall we visited a new church in town and on our first visit the worship director approached us. "I'm so glad you guys are here. You want to help us start a youth ministry?"
S. wasn't so sure. I was very sure. We said yes...

and one summer turned into another... and another... and another.

I went to our town's Farmer Day Parade Saturday and was reminded of the many reasons I love this town. I love that every year we see the Parade with the tractors, berry pickers, and children dressed in traditional Dutch clothes.
I love that in every hard season of the past decade I have experienced huge support from other families in town- financially, emotionally, prayerfully. I love living in a place that has a rich heritage of trusting the Lord. I love the smell of raspberries, the excitement of harvest, the big deal we made about the two lane road growing to four lanes.
I love that the lady from craigslist called for directions and actually guessed what neighborhood we live in because the pictures of our van showed familiar trees in the background. I love that the high schoolers who roll their eyes that there's nothing to do in this town, move away and then come home realizing that having a community of people to BBQ and play soft pitch with might be a little more lasting (and less expensive) than clubbing or going to events in a bigger city.
When I was at my sister's house on Thursday I realized my boys were on a tractor with a strange man. When I went out to retrieve them I realized it was that older gentleman that calls me "Tadema" (my maiden name) with a Dutch accent because he knew my grandfather 40 years ago. Love that.

We may get uprooted again someday. We are open to where the Lord leads. But on a recent drive with Mt. Baker in view
I told S., "I know I'll be fine with what the future holds and wherever we go. But if the Lord sees fit to keep us planted here... that is just fine with me."

1 comment:

  1. I love this! I will never forget when you two first came to Lynden and jumped into leading us middle schoolers. I also remember my sister gushing about how you guys were the sweetest couple when we saw you washing your cars together as we drove past that little house on Main Street one sunny evening. You're a blessing.