Libby picked me up from the airport. As we got on I-10 to head towards Gentilly all I could think was ..it all looks exactly the same!
It had been two years since I’d last been to New Orleans and five years since my family moved across the country to the Eastern shore of Maryland. My wife (Elena) and I had just had our daughter (Kaylee) and all of the grandparents were in the Mid-Atlantic. So we followed suite. It would be an adventure. We would make some lifelong friends. Friends who are more like family. We would have another child (Benjamin). We would help start a brand new church – even host it for the first several months in our home.
Professionally, I worked for a local Christian radio station while Elena started a private church accounting business. Honestly, we thought that this was our life trajectory. We would raise our children there, invest our lives as fully as we could in the lives of our neighbors and serve God to the best of our abilities in the town of Salisbury, MD.
For a long time we thought our chronic homesickness would go away. Surely it would fade! We would make do with occasional visits and a really good Dixieland Pandora channel. Elena perfected her gumbo recipe – so we could eat decent food. After Christmas we decorated the house for Mardi Gras. All the beads and doubloons confused our friends, but we happily explained, “It’s after Epiphany – It’s Mardi Gras.” They still didn’t quite understand.
(Sidebar: No matter what the people on Pinterest say, it is not possible to make a legit King Cake in your home. I know this because we tried. A lot.)
The longing for life in New Orleans – the people, culture, food – even the weather! Cause Winter sucks. Just straight up is the worst. Snow is pretty, but it is not comfortable. At all. We knew what it means to miss New Orleans. And then the temptation came. Emails, calls, texts from LifeSongs inquiring if we’d like to come home. Were these just jokes? Does God want us to go home?
I said “No.” Too easy. Too convenient. We had built a new life and we would stick it out because that’s what you do. Right? Turns out God had other plans. Through circumstances that could only be Him – everything changed. Suddenly our ties were loosened. Elena and I looked at each other and said in unison, “Let’s go home!”
It’s not really starting over, but restarting a life we’ve missed dearly.
Thank you for the Bienvenue. And I look forward to catching up with you every weekday morning!