Lubbock in My Rear View Mirror



I have never wanted to live in Lubbock, Texas.

When I was probably 8 or 9 my family considered a relocation to Austin. The company my father worked for at the time was moving its head office to Austin, and Dad was asked to go.

I loved those few days we spent in Austin, exploring the possible move. I remember house hunting and being simply awed by the place. (There was a house that had a bunk-bed with a slide!) I was so excited about moving and felt that we absolutely had to move to this new and exciting place… But unfortunately the rest of my family did not feel this way. So Dad took another job, and we stayed in Lubbock.

Everything else outside of Lubbock always seemed somehow bigger and grander than this quite, slow-paced town. (It should be noted that Lubbock is a city of just over 200,000 people, and thus not quite as small as some may picture it.) As a teenager, I couldn’t wait to “get out.” I dreamed of other places far, far away. And I did apply to colleges far, far away, but instead ended up attending college in Abilene—smaller than Lubbock and only a few miles down the road. But even still, Abilene was not Lubbock and was close to a far bigger place—Dallas-Fort Worth.

Since then, I’ve never looked back. From Portland to Colorado Springs to Mmametlhake to Johannesburg—never once entertaining the idea of moving back to Lubbock on a permanent basis.

And that’s why I can’t explain it.

I visited Lubbock over the Christmas holidays. I was there to spend time with my family, obtain a South African work permit and prepare my family for the new addition. Sitting in the pew with my family one Sunday, I inexplicably found myself praying, longing to move back to Lubbock. Praying to live in this humdrum, West Texas town with little in the way of entertainment, no hiking trails nearby, and restaurant chains and box stores by the dozens. Where the wind blows a gale majority of the year and walls of dirt are known to come flying along with it. Where trees do not grow naturally and the horizon is as flat as a sheet of paper.
That big cloud is actually a dust storm blowing in.

The prayer seemed somehow against my very nature but resonated so perfectly within my spirit. How could I be praying this prayer?

But that prayer took hold. First my work permit fell through, meaning I would not be able to begin fostering when I returned to SA. Then we found out that if I chose to adopt through the South African courts it would take 6-7years before Hannah would be legally recognized as my child by both the South African and US governments. (Through our Oasis Haven connections, an inter-country adoption will hopefully take 6-12months.) On top of these setbacks, I began to see how much I needed my family, Hannah* would need my family and how much my family needed me.

So the decision was made--at the end of march, I would be moving home to Lubbock.

A friend asked me recently how I felt about moving back. My response: I guess it is time for the wanderer to go home. And I suppose there is something romantic about that idea—something full circle and complete.
I must admit that I look forward to throwing dinner parties and to seeking out the “mom and pop” eateries forgotten amid the chains. To reconnecting with friends from school days and forming new friendships with those who have discovered Lubbock’s hidden charms. To bringing Hannah home and showing her glimpses of my childhood as she lives hers.

It’s a circle that’s ends could not be drawn together until there was a me who understood the me I was created to be. A me full of confidence in my Author, and full of hope where I lack confidence in Him.

As I prepare to move back, what I look forward to most is my first West Texas sunset in twelve years. These are the sunsets of dreams. The kind of sunsets where the pinks, oranges and dusky blues seem almost impossible colors. The kind that bring tears to your eyes, as you watch speechless, unable to fully drink in the beauty. The kind of sunsets that make you pull over on the side of the road just to admire them. These are the sunsets that cause you to lift your hands in spontaneous worship of the Creator God.

And I know that on that day, with that sunset, I will know without a doubt that the wanderer is home.

*Hannah is a pseudonym. In order to protect her identity until she is fully and legally mine, I use "Hannah" in all posts regarding my one day daughter and her adoption.