Last year right about now, I was frantically getting the vicarage ready for a house swap. The four of us were headed to Minnesota, to the land of my people – yes, where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average” in Garrison Keillor’s memorable words. A British family, who have settled in Minnesota, were coming here to London, and we were taking over their home, which is (amazingly) only a couple of miles from my parents’ house.
Entering someone else’s setting for a week or two can feel surreal. The friend whom I swapped with and I chatted back and forth on a social-media site during the early days, comparing US versus UK ways of doing things, and both of us, I think, having a sense of, “This could be my life.” In fact, I so hadn’t emotionally disengaged from life in London that at first it felt difficult to stop the conversation. Then one morning I realized in prayer that I needed to be present where I was – and why wouldn’t I want to be? I had longed for this space to see family and friends again, and to experience the joys of things like amazing plumbing and Target. And I needed to bless my friend and let her get on with her time in the UK.
The kids loved so much about living in someone else’s home for two weeks. CutiePyeGirl was thrilled that they had two girls; PyelotBoy not fussed, understandably. One of the kids’ favorite things each day was running across the (not busy) street to get the mail out of the mailbox. A novelty, to be sure.
Can you imagine what your life might look like if you changed places with someone living a similar sort of life (similar job; similar ministry), but in a different country? Not an exercise to get hung up on, for the reminder to me is to give thanks for the life I do have. Especially as today in London the sun is shining.