In January of this year, we moved from Maryland to Virginia, from a four-bedroom house to a three-bedroom apartment. It was not the easiest move in the world, far from it. Rather, it was one of the worst moves I have ever experienced, and I have moved a lot! But, as horrendous as the experience was, we survived it and are now living in a delightful, sunny, cheerful apartment. This is one of those places that fit like a glove. We have made friends quite easily, and even our beloved cat Pele took to this place like a fish to water. In other words, we love it here even though we’ve been here just one month!
If you are wondering why we made the move, it was to be closer to Richard’s work. For three and a half years his daily commute was three to four hours (round trip). If you ever lived in Washington, DC, and braved the beltway, you know what I mean when I say that it was a grueling trek from Silver Spring, MD, to Lorton, VA. The toll on him physically, mentally and emotionally was something we both worried about. So, when in November he signed a contract for another year, we decided that living in this rat race was no longer an acceptable way to live out our middle age and senior years. Life is simply too short, and there is too much to see and do to waste it battling traffic on a freeway. So, we found an apartment much closer to his work and here we are in the wonderful state of Virginia. Richard’s round trip commute is now less than one hour. This month, despite the headaches of moving, has been great.
But as life would have it, things got a little bumpy this week. Thanks to the Office of the Secretary of State (or was it Secretary of Defense???) the entire research and development team was eliminated (LOTS of jobs). Deep cuts throughout the District, are wreaking havoc with people’s lives. The obliteration was brutal and totally unexpected by everyone, from the top position to the lowest. People in high management, loyal folks who had been with the company since the 1970’s, people with mortgages and children in college, and my husband, too, all got the axe. (Yes, the imagery is savage, so was the sacking!) There was no time to prepare, no time to consider options or to seek other employment. No one saw this coming, yet despite that fact, the company has gone to extreme lengths to help as many of their employees get back on their feet as possible. (Kudos to TASC!) Many will be forced to take early retirement. Others will be relocated to open positions elsewhere within TASC. Plans to provide job placement services have been set up and go into effect by the end of the month. Everyone is hurting, and they are pulling together to get through this crisis. If you are a praying person, now would be a good time!
As to our situation, it’s the “relocate” that causes me some dread. Talks have already been initiated in an effort to keep Richard with the company, but that will mean moving far away from this wonderful community and lovely apartment. . . and we just moved in. Packed boxes are still neatly stacked in corners as we continue fitting in to our space. Those boxes will now remain packed until we find out where Richard will be working. Along with many others, our lives were just turned “topsy turvy.”
Reflecting on the unfolding events of this past week, I thought of the parsha (Torah reading) of the week of our marriage, Lech Lecha/Genesis 12-17. Actually, every time we move, I think of our marriage parsha. It is the portion where Hashem speaks to Avram (this is before his name change) and tells him “Go forth from your native land, and from your parent’s house to the land that I will show you” (12.1). Don’t misunderstand me; I am NOT comparing myself to Avram. It’s the “go” part that gets to me. Go from your land, go from your family, go to another land. I never ever in my most far-fetched dreams wanted to be a nomad. But here I am. I quit counting “moves” when I reached number 36. A few of the moves were different locations within the same city or town, but a move is a move, and anyone who has moved knows what I mean. I am very tired of “relocating.” Enough is enough!
On the other hand, I have lived in some very interesting places, places I would never have known about had we not relocated. I have friends all over this country, and the world due to our many “homes” and various communities. Every place we have lived has its blessings, and those blessings have always outweighed the curses in life (eventually). So, we go out to those places that Hashem shows us.
I may be getting ahead of myself though. There are people actively searching to find Richard a position in this area so that we will not have to move again. I am able to continue my coursework, and can do so no matter where we live—one of the advantages of an online graduate program. The job on the other side of this country is not a sure bet just yet, but TASC is working on it. Richard has an office to work from for another week and a half. The coming days will be filled with uncertainty. Lech Lechah, Go, rings in my ears as it has become the theme of our lives. But lech lecha is always followed by “I will show you.” Assurance amidst the confusion of leaving. Gamzu l’tovah/This, too, is for the best.
We got married during Lech Lecha, and we’ve been “going” ever since. And Hashem has guided our footsteps, showing us the way every time.