Our move here to Leavenworth was our 9th move in almost 13 years of marriage. We have moved all over the South East, to Germany, out to California and now the mid-West. Our longest stay somewhere is still, I think, Fort Hood at 2.5 years, our shortest was probably California at around 16 months. Leavenworth will be about average at around 2 years, but only because I am going to Afghanistan for a year, otherwise it would be less than 12 months.
You learn some things about yourself and others when you move like that. You learn to anticipate the mental/social dislocation. It doesn’t make it any easier, but you can anticipate your reaction to being uprooted, to feeling like the new kid on the block, the exigencies of travel and getting your new home set up. It boggles my mind that many people only experience these feelings once or twice in their lives! Even if they change houses, most folks done leave the general area of their circle of friends and family.
A side benefit for our kids has been that they are very social and make new friends easily. And Angela and I have learned to be very discerning about people in general and churches specifically. Finding a new church home is something of a specialty of ours, but this move has shown me how critical those relationships are to our family and our well-being. Especially with an upcoming deployment, my family will find those semi-instant relationships to be critical to their support. I am still very much in favor of small groups and home churches, but, for our vagabond lifestyle, it seems we need an established church to hook into. There simply isn’t enough time to develop the roots needed to make an effective small community locally. But, even though our focus must, it seems, remain on a larger church body, our focus in choosing one remains the seeming effectiveness and vibrancy of the small groups within the larger church.
So, if you are faced with dislocation, I strongly recommend you cut yourself some slack, there will be emotional hurdles that are as natural as they are unavoidable. And hook into a local group, just make sure it is a “fit” for where you are in your walk.