The Comfort of Discomfort

This is a 2010 article I wrote for Experience MHGS (now The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology), soon after moving from Columbia, Missouri to Seattle, Washington.

Missouri is all I knew. I was born in Kansas City and raised in a nearby Mellencamp-style small town. Janelle and I met as Southern Baptist summer missionaries, married right after college, started a family right away, and bought a house in a college town to live out our days rooting for the Tigers and volunteering in the church nursery.

We had talked about a potential move someday – maybe to the coast, or to Tolkein’s Rivendell. But that desire had been pushed to the background over the years, as babies and car payments and career ladders and mortgages became the norm. I had a stable government job, and everything in our life – including our lives themselves – were fully insured against loss. We had a retirement plan, college funds, and a Camry. We were set.

Then something happened. I think it was a combination of disenchantment with the comfort we had worked so hard to create, and concern that – in our early 30s – we had made all the life decisions there were to make. The suburban life of routine (complete with its cocoon of safety) was the end of the line. We had won the race.

Unfortunately, it didn’t feel like a win. More importantly, we didn’t want the race to be over. We became uncomfortable with the comfort.

Janelle’s journey toward graduate school was the catalyst for change. MHGS had been on her radar for years, but more as a dream than a potential reality. As we re-entered the discussion of a potential move, we quickly got excited and terrified at the realities of actually relocating 2,000 miles away from home. There were grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends to consider. Our financial comfort was based on a Midwest cost of living, not Seattle. We just bought a house. I worked in Missouri.

We dove into the process, figured out the logistics, and made the move. It wasn’t easy, but we had a ton of help along the way. The house sold almost immediately, even in a down market. I found a job where I work from home full time. Our cat slept four days straight during the drive from Missouri to Seattle.

Now, five months into our new life in Seattle and five weeks at MHGS, I can’t imagine any other life for our family. Discomfort is a regular part of each week.

It’s hard.

I love it.

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