When I get here, to this quiet cottage in Central Virginia, I begin to think epically. Maybe it’s something about this place – 3,500 acres of meadow and forest; maybe it’s my parents, who have always taught us to be who we want to be and have supported my brother all the way in this, maybe it’s just that being with people who know me deeply and accept me for whom I am gives me the space to stretch my mind. Whatever it is, whenever I get to my parents house I begin to ponder larger things – what does it mean to live a life for God? What do I want to spend my time doing? Where should I live?

It’s this last question that has really been circumnavigating the inside of my skull these past couple of days. In November, the lease that K and I have will be up. We will have the option to move out of Baltimore, and I expect I will. The city is really great, and K is great, but I don’t have much to hold me to that particular geography, and geography is very important to me. I’ve moved a lot in my life (and I’ve loved that) but the geography, the nature, the physicality of a place is what makes me love it. The way the hills look, the way the weather comes down the sky, the flowers that bloom, the skin of water in a lake or stream. These are what make a place home for me.

So now I’m to a place of choice (again). I’m pretty sure that I will move to one of two places – Lancaster, PA or Staunton, Virginia (just west of Charlottesville for those who know the area). There is much to consider in this choice. I have many friends in Lancaster, and I love that city (the music, the culture, the land). Yet, in VA, I would be near my parents, in land I love – those low mountains of the Appalachians speak to something in my soul – near some friends, and surrounded by the music, arts, crafts, and books of the rural, mountain America I adore. At this point, I am entirely of two minds, and I just keep praying for guidance.

Helpful people ask about where I’ll work and how I’ll make a living, and I certainly need to think about that. But this choice is about something much more fundamental – where will I call home? I think this will be my last move, and so this choice, this time, is basic and essential in a way that a lot of my moves have not been. And so what I will do for money, that’s not as important to me. I will find work. But what community do I want to make myself a part of, that’s the really fundamental question? Where I will be most fully myself as a writer, as a believer, as a woman? That’s the real question I’m praying through.

So I come and ask you, where should I move? Do you have any thoughts? Any at all? Cases to make for either place? Wisdom about the process of discernment? If we were sharing a cup of coffee on this warm Sunday morning, what would you tell me?

Lancaster, PA – Lancaster, PA

Staunton, VA – Staunton, VA