An Invitation to Space
“A Cross-Country Trek”
Well, I didn’t actually walk from California to Richmond, but sometimes it feels like it. My family and I often wonder if we’re on a different planet amongst the beautiful, tree-lined streets and friendly people of Virginia. I am a California native and have lived there for all of my 40+ years (except for two middle school years in Bangkok, Thailand – but that’s another story). Commonwealth Chapel has a rich history as a church in the Richmond area, a new campus in Chesterfield, and a founding pastor with a west coast connection. He’s been a friend of mine for over 20 years, but it still took an act of God to pry us from the sunny, 70 degrees of coastal Southern Cal and plop us down on the opposite side of the country. We’re here though, miraculously…and enjoying the ride. Fall was beautiful and also challenging as we saw the leaves gathering in our yard and struggled to collect them all with our sandy beach tarps. Winter was amazing, too, and my kids could not believe that school was actually cancelled due to weather – it was like Christmas morning all over again. Spring has been a joy with the changing colors and intermittent thunder storms to keep things interesting. I check my weather app now like a teenager on Instagram.
People often ask me what is most different about the two locales, and although my answer often fluctuates from day to day, I’m settling more and more on the idea of space. The simple answer is that there is just more space here, and space changes everything. Where we lived in California, a postage stamp sized house costs 1/2 a million dollars, two-hour waits at restaurants are common, a parking spot is like finding treasure, and traffic jams are the norm – people are crowded, cramped, pressured, and territorial, but space allows you to breathe deeper. Space allows you to stretch out and enjoy your surroundings. Space releases you from having to fight for your place in the world. On moving day in our new neighborhood, we met so many nice neighbors we thought we were dreaming! So many people had time to stop, talk, help, and welcome us. They were genuinely interested in us. Their sense of space wasn’t threatened, and their time wasn’t rushed. They had space on the street and space on the clock. We feel this breathing room everywhere we go. We love the welcoming, open feeling of Cafe Caturra, Sweet Frog, and Urban Farmhouse. When my family and I explore Robious Landing or Belle Isle, we are struck every time by the open parking spots, the uncrowded trails, the friendly people…the space. It’s going to take some getting used to, but thankfully we’ve got time.
This year, our church is offering a wide-open invite toward finding the space to explore faith. The Alpha course is the perfect place to bring your biggest questions and your curiosity about the meaning of life. It’s a no-pressure environment where everyone is welcome, everyone has a seat at the table (free dinner by the way!), and a parking spot is guaranteed! You can find out more about Alpha online. The class will be located at Commonwealth Chapel 233 North Courthouse Rd, N. Chesterfield, VA 23236 from 6:15-8:30pm each Wednesday night, from Sept. 10 – Nov. 19. Registration is open at our website. I really hope to see you there! We’re grateful for every one of you who make Virginia such a wonderful place to live and discover. Thanks for welcoming this west-coaster so warmly!