When I first moved to Ottawa, I thought it would be temporary. I anticipated staying maybe two years for school, and then moving on to... someplace else, like Europe or New York City. The reason I stayed in Ottawa after graduating had less to do with the city than with my inability to decide what to do next. Over time, however, Ottawa began to capture my heart. I grew to love my church and to make close friends, and in time to love the uniqueness of living in the National Capital Region: Skating on the Rideau Canal, the beauty of the Parliament buildings in the heart of the city, great museums. In time, the list of positives included such grown-up advantages as lower housing prices than in some bigger cities, and lower car insurance. Ah, adulthood!
Even though I loved my hometown of Toronto, I didn't see myself going back. In high school, I couldn't wait to break free and move far away. Throughout my university years, Toronto came to signify stress and discomfort due to the on-again, off-again relationship between my mom and my former step-father. There were some times when I just did not want to go back, because even though my house was still there, it felt like my childhood home didn't exist any more.
In the past few years, God has done remarkable healing in my life. In preparing me for marriage, God helped me confront a lot of pain and brokenness and to come through stronger. My mom is also in a much better place. As my brothers started settling down in their own Toronto lives, I felt the geographic distance between us more than I had in the past. Of course, when Gil got his job in the area shortly after we met, Toronto sure increased its pull on my heart!
All that to say, I can see now that God was preparing me to go back for a long time, but I didn't realize it. My biggest fear in getting married was leaving my Ottawa life. I was so comfortable with my friends, my church, my job, and my condo, but felt very strongly that Toronto was the right place for Gil and me to settle down. I expected to feel lonely, but apart from a few bouts of “home-sickness”, I am so far loving Toronto! (Not to say I don't miss y'all, of course.) It has been so wonderful to see my family more regularly and to do things like attend a concert with my mom without it being hard to schedule. The best of part was when my nephew was born a couple of weeks ago. Within three hours of his birth, I was at the hospital holding him in my arms, and was able to visit a few days later as well as attend his bris (circumcision ceremony). It is amazing to realize how God is so good and knew exactly when it was the right time for me to make this move, and went ahead of me to prepare the way!
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”