People ask me all the time: “why did you move to Virginia? ” Seaford, Virginia: not the most metro, hipster, saving-the-world, hip place to be. There’s more cars than people and less trees than roads. The constant humidity is similar to living your life inside a sauna and everybody has carpets and air conditioning. Allergies are more common than not and people don’t take clocks seriously. It’s not limited to any one group of people. When people say meet at 5, it’s 5:30. And this is definitely true when shopping: people do not make haste. All the cashiers and people standing in line have all the time in the world.
So why would a mid-twenties college graduate, outdoorsy, activist, artistic, northerner move to the tiny town of Seaford, Virginia? And the answer, my friends, (drum roll please)
What does that even mean?
As somebody with a strong Southern accent might say, hang on naya. We’re gittin there.
Once upon a time…
I was living on an island in Maine eating local food from the Portland Co-op, gardening, riding the ferry to and from work every day and riding around the island on my bicycle. And I just wunt satisfied (another Virginia-ism). I wunt fulfilled. I had a couple friends but they weren’t all that close. [***Except N <3***] I had a couple of jobs but they were hellish (#nannywars). I had done a couple diets and was back to square one. I had dated a couple guys which both ended quickly (thank God 😉 ). I had a head full of sparking thoughts. And then the spark found the kindling: Jesus. I needed … to be closer to Jesus…!
But Jesus is dead. How can you be closer to someone dead?
So I started to attend church again. And I craved being around Christians. And I met a couple solid* Christians on the tiny island Baptist Church named Jack and Gerri.
*When I say “solid” I mean bold. Bold about their beliefs. And willing to stand for them. And live by them. Practice them. And preach them!
And Jack & Gerri invited me over to their big, beautiful house. && I got to know ’em. Jack told me about the business he started. I walked their dog. We ate ice cream. I met their friends. My new Baptist friends were always having missionaries come and stay with them. They surrounded themselves with peaceful, humble people who knew so much about history, the bible, and current events.
Jack gave me a book full of knowledge. Just what I wanted. I hunted knowledge like a hungry animal hunting their prey. I couldn’t get enough of it. Knowledge about Jesus and who He was.
I need to be around more people like this, like Jesus.
And then I heard a voice.
Velvet, you must go to Virginia.
It’s weird, I know. But I couldn’t ignore or deny it. And it isn’t totally out of the blue. I have family in Virginia. My pen-pal/ favorite cousin lives in Virginia. We’ve been faraway friends for life and have grown very close in the last couple of years.
After hearing the Voice, I visited Virginia for six weeks and stayed with my cousin in her apartment. It was an experience. We shared her bedroom for ~5 weeks. Her bed. She shared her bed with me for five weeks! #goodfriend <3
She was always surrounded by people. Boyfriend, friends, neighbors, people she worked with and for. And every time I felt …. so …. loved by everyone I met. People were different than in Maine. They smiled and waved and said “how do you do?”. They helped each other out and were joyful and successful and prioritized their families. And she talked about Jesus all da time. Nonchalantly in conversation. Nobody did this up North.
I had much to learn.
I met several families that every member was in love with Jesus and loved each other. I didn’t think families like these existed. But truly every family has baggage and nobody is perfect. And when your situation has hit rock bottom, everything else is glorified. But there are better and worse ways of doing things & handling drama and issues; and I liked what I saw. It was different to me and I could benefit from the newness. I was seeing Jesus.
&& I returned home in mid-December, and left my precious bicycle in VA because I knew I was going back ~*~
Mt. Monadnock in the winter; Jaffrey, NH
I was contemplating my next move for about 3 weeks…
when my Great Aunt Patsy Sours passed away. Her funeral was in Virginia in January. I was going back sooner than I thought!
At the funeral procession, a friend I had met when staying with my cousin offered me a job to live and work for her family, take care of their grandmother. I would be in Virginia, in the home of strong Christians, and I would see how their family lived, walked, worked together and were mirrors for Jesus all throughout.
After much contemplation, it became loud and c l e a r that this job was exactly where I needed to be.
It became clear that this situation was exactly what I needed at the time in my life and the lives of the family I was moving in with.
It became clear that this family and I couldn’t have ever matched ourselves together.
The Voice was loud and clear.
A season to give for others.
To be a loving, forgiving, active, dependable, reliable family member.
A season to study, to teach, to become involved in a large community where people keep each other accountable.
To have a church, a bible study group, an additional weekly bible study.
A season to love like Jesus did: love people He didn’t know and wasn’t related to, but forgave them for their human sins and mistakes and showed them the love He wished to see.
I moved to Virginia to be in the light.
Where it’s brighter, hotter, less cold in so many ways; and where joy and love can be vibrant inside me and shine out to others.
I moved to Virginia to experience living in a Christian home with fellow Christ followers.
And to undo so many habits that were ingrained in me from my family life.
And so much more. These are surface level changes I was going through. And there are so many more to come. 11 months in Virginia so far. Not sure how many more.
It’s been an adventure. I love it. God has blessed me tremendously and continues to do so.
Have you ever felt called to a place?!