Thursday, November 21, 2013

Timing is Everything

So hubs had a meeting in the UK on Monday, and while he was in his meeting I was at my friendly neighborhood dental office, but whatever. A few people have asked why I didn't go with him on this trip, but honestly the timing wasn't right. He arrived there Monday morning and was back here Wednesday evening.

I suppose we could have extended the stay, but my girls will be home next week, and then of course Christmas is looming rather large. I'll have a houseful, which means there's a mountain of cleaning, menu planning, decorating, shopping, spending, wrapping, and baking to do in the next few weeks.

That doesn't make me anxious at all by the way.

On Tuesday hubs drove out to our little village, sniff, sniff, and the texts and photos he sent were almost more than my heart could handle. We saw lots of ex-pat friends come and go in the years we spent in England, many of whom couldn't wait to get back stateside. They enjoyed their experiences abroad, but were more than a little bit happy to be back 'home'.

Our little family though? We were mixed. At the time, both girls were in uni in the states, and the distance in miles, airline flights, logistics, and time zones was feeling huge some days.  From a job standpoint, hubs was ready to move into a new role, and we were both feeling the need to be physically nearer our own parents too.

But England. We loved you. We love you still. Your cold damp air seeped into our bones, but your beauty and charm and history and people seeped into our souls.  It lies there still, mostly quiet, until it sneaks up into a moment present day and we feel a wave of longing for a different kind of life.

First thing after checking into the hotel, hubs jogged by our old house. The new owners have made some changes, but at a glance, especially from the outside, it looks almost the same. I can hear the gravel under my tires, see the knockout roses blooming up against the brick front, and picture a yard full of teenagers on an every Thursday night.    

As he stood looking at the house, he saw the next door neighbor come running out, literally, to greet him. John gave the hubs a big hug, and while they were chatting their housekeeper pulled up in the drive. My housekeeper, who they wisely snatched up when we moved, because she is a gem in every sense of the word. She hailed from Spain, had been in the UK for decades, but still talked with a heavy Spanish accent. She is a warm and lovely woman, and she rushed right over and gave hubs a hug around the neck too.

And that my friends is the kind of thing that makes your heart feel like it might spill out into a big sloppy mess.

The rest of his Tuesday was essentially just giving in to a deluge of sights, sounds, smells, and emotions.  A walk down memory lane I lived via text...

"Just walked thru the commons..."

"Ran by the pond..."

"The 3 Pigeons is now called the 3 Oaks...remember when I answered the phone there because they were too busy to answer it themselves?" 

We remember.

"Went into the's not the same without our pup here to run circles around me, and chase the birds.'  

"Had fish and chips and mushy peas for lunch..."

"Ran down the High much has much feels exactly the same..."

Thank goodness.

Then there was dinner. Hubs only had time for one dinner in town, and he knew it would be in our favorite Indian restaurant. It took six years, but he bonded with the guys who owned and ran this restaurant in a way that still makes me smile. We all did. We ate dinner here on our last night living in this village, and they told hubs he was like their brother. That is not a small thing to say.

A lot can change in four and a half years, but happily there were still some old familiar friendly faces there to greet him when he walked through the door. 'Sir! Where is Mam? And the girls?..."

I've been thinking a lot about timing lately, more specifically God's timing. How He knows what we need and when we need it, and how it is often only in hindsight we see the beauty of His wisdom that knows no end. I was anxious about the timing of our move to the UK back in 2003, for many reasons, but mostly because I had daughters navigating the tricky waters of teenage life. There was so much I couldn't see, couldn't predict, couldn't know about what those next years would hold, but God knew.  He knew we needed to be there, not here.

As we prepared to leave this land we had grown to love in 2009, anxiety lurked once more at the edges of my brain. Is the timing right?  Is it now?  God knew.

When I look back on all that has occurred in our lives in the four years we've been back in the states, I marvel at the timing, and stand in awe of a God who knows. In 2009 we had no idea what the future held, no inkling that our family would walk through grief and sorrow the likes of which we could never have imagined, but God knew. He knew we needed to be here, not there.

I try to to tuck this lesson learned into the deepest recesses of my heart as we face the future. Children turned adults, out from under the watchful eye of their mom and dad, so many changes looming, moves, retirement, what's next, the when, the where, the's enough to make a person feel a little anxious.

Then I remember.
Timing is everything.
And God knows.


  1. Your home in England is beautiful. I've never been there, but it's always been a dream. I can understand your love for the country and friends you had to leave behind.

  2. Oh, my. This put tears in my eyes! I was only in England for a week, but it really gets into your heart & soul in a quick way! Have I mentioned how jealous I am that you got to experience living there??? :)

  3. I so enjoyed hearing about your time in England!! Your home there was (is) beautiful and how great that your husband got to reconnect with old friends while there!!

    Are you connected, here, with Judy from ??? She LOVES England, has visited often and posts about England most every Friday. She also makes amazing handmade soaps.

    Thanks for sharing! I've never been to England (only Italy). It is nice to live vicariously through others!! :)

  4. You were so brave to make that move, and keep trusting Him. May God bless you and those sweet memories you hold close. We do have a God who knows just what we need, even when we don't know ourselves. I would love to visit the UK! (And can I please take you as my tour guide?) :)

  5. This is so sweet and heart felt. I believe God knows also. Although, sometimes I wish He'd share sooner. ;)
    I've been telling the Hubby that if he were to think of relocating, now would be the time. And I would totally be ready!

  6. We lived in England also for a bit back in the 70's. Our daughter was born there. It holds a special place in my heart as well. It always will.

  7. Thanks for the reminder. It's hard to wait for God's perfect timing. Really hard. But I know it's perfect, so I wait.

  8. Wow, Joyce, I felt like I was right there with you, reading your husband's texts and rejoicing and feeling a bit sad at the same time about the old neighbors who were so glad to see him. What a testimony to God's impeccable timing. We know that all things, together, work for good, for those who are called, according to His purpose.

  9. What a beautiful post. Isn't technology great? You got to experience some of your favorite places via technology. What an awesome opportunity you had to live there. Thanks for sharing.

  10. oops. What I meant to write is: 'And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.' (It's what happens when you grow up memorizing everything in the King James Version, then for years the church you attend is using NASB and so much of what you read other places is in the NIV.) But there was a really important omission, and that was 'to them that love God.' A promise that gives us strength and assurance in the hard times.

  11. Sometimes we need to bring those already learned lessons out of our hearts, dust them off, and and remember them all over again. Always a pleasure to read your thoughts.
    He is so good to remind us, new mercies every day!

  12. Love, love, LOVE this. So well written Joyce. :)

  13. Trusting God and now myself is hard for this "control freak", but your testimony reminds me that it's always worth it in the end, for as you said "God knows".

  14. I love this post and I love that you lived there. I hope I get a chance someday to spend more time there. I really enjoyed the Fish 'n Chips, the peas were different but good! How awesome that he got to go back and visit and run into people you know.

  15. Ah.. God's perfect timing. It is always like a bonk on the head to me. I get so impatient waiting for something then when my prayers are answered I can see the perfect timing in it and have to ask forgiveness for being so impatient in my expectations. Your article is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Oh, Joyce. I've been away from blog hopping for awhile and your post seems like a God-thing. So much is going on in my life at the moment and BIG changes could be imminent. I have been hiding, pushing emotionally and sometimes verbally away from it all, but I do know, in my heart of hearts, if these changes are His plan, then we will be ok. Your post was a good reminder (ahem, sermon). I got teary hoping that we aren't meant to leave the DC area and our lovely farm life, but I DO want to be where He wants us to be, even if that only leaves us with old friends and sweet memories. Thanks for the perspective.

  17. Beautiful! I have never been to England..but it does look lovely. Thankyou for your post, it sure made me tear up and also smile. Blessings