Believing in Rocks

Faith can be a funny thing. I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit lately.

Someone recently described faith to me as “believing something without evidence or proof”. And yeah, that’s one definition. A definition as far from my practice as I am from Alpha Centauri.

I broke out the star charts. Shit just got REAL.
I broke out the star charts. Shit just got REAL.

The more balanced I get in my life and my practice, the more room I make for the Powers, the less I relate to that definition of faith. That’s not unique to me, of course – I’ve heard it from other people too.

I remember reading that Starhawk was once asked something like “do you believe in the Goddess?”. She responded with “do you believe in rocks?”. That stuck with me, and I get it now. How can I possibly doubt, when I see what I see? When I can feel the effects of my relationships with the Powers in my life every single day?

I know my Lady – and to a lesser extent the other Powers with whom I work – have my back. This isn’t bullshit I tell myself when I’m scared in the dark, or a personification of whatever-the-hell, or my Rice Crispies talking to me. It’s as self-evident as the fact that my hands are cold as I write this.

Although, gotta say, that would be SO much easier.
Although, gotta say, that would be SO much easier.

If ever I do start to doubt either the influence of the Powers in my life, or that moving to New York is what my Lady wanted for me (at least for now), thinking about my recent cross-country move would kill those doubts dead immediately.

Leaving Seattle

Moving cross-country is rarely an easy task. And I’ve done it a few times! There are a ton of details to juggle, and the further you get into the process the more details pop up. Handling everything is like playing a game of Whac-a-Mole, and it’s exhausting.

Who knew birthday parties at Chuck E Cheese were prepping me for adult life?
Who knew birthday parties at Chuck E Cheese were prepping me for adult life?

This move did have its share of moles to whack, but wow did the chutes clear faster than expected!

I plan my life. That’s just how I work. So my original plan had me leaving Seattle sometime between October 24 (when a dear friend of mine finally returned to the mainland after a year in Hawaiii) and October 30 (so I could be in New York by Samhain). That would have been tight, and frankly taken longer than I wanted to take, but there were upsides. For one thing, it allowed me to stay in Seattle long enough to meet the written terms of my lease. That’s important. The biggest benefit, though, was more time to save money. My area of New York is fairly economically depressed, very rural, and I don’t have a car. Finding a job after the move was going to be problematic, so every cent mattered.

My piggy bank only gets me so far, you know?

My piggy bank only gets me so far, you know?

I liked that plan. I was good with that plan. Then there was Stuff. And Things. And all of my careful planning had to be rewritten so often that by the end my “plan” was more of a recap of past events than anything else.

For instance, I turned in my move-out notice to my landlady, effective Oct 31 (with plans to actually leave a few days earlier than that). She informed me that rent was going up in October for the whole building, so I should go ahead and move out at the end of September. Simplified her paperwork, and prevented me from having to sign a new lease. She also assured me that moving out earlier than my lease stated would in no way affect my deposit, what with the new rent and everything else going on.

Ok. Sure. It cut into my savings time, but the deposit would help with that, and it definitely made sure I got out to New York early enough to help plan an awesome Samhain event. It also allowed me to avoid the rent hike and signing a lease. It just meant my planning time for moving cross-country was cut by more than half. That wasn’t a big deal, right? *deep breath* Right.

Then I talked to my boss about my moving. He informed me that there was no reason for me to leave the company. I do good work, so why not do good work from home? Same pay and everything, I’d just telecommute.

*blink* And… another change of plan that fixed the major defect of the first change! The frantic saving I couldn’t do because of the earlier-than-expected move date wasn’t necessary any more, because I’d still draw my normal paycheck in New York. No worries about job hunting in a low-job area, no stressing transportation to and from said job, no driving in the snow, nada. Hell, I even got paid to drive from my new place to Philly and back – hours AND mileage – to pick up the necessary equipment. I took a week off to move, and because they covered the Philly trip I only lost a day and a half of pay!

Although driving to and from Philly? NOT recommended if it can be helped. Traffic was INSANE.

Although driving in Philly? NOT recommended. Traffic was intense.

I won’t even miss seeing my friend when he gets back to the mainland. He just so happens to be spending the holidays in Pennsylvania (not usual, btw), and he’ll pop up to visit me before he heads back home.

Every major concern I had, handled one after the other, in ways I could not predict or control. Simple luck? Coincidence? Or my Lady working to smooth my way? I know how I answer that question.

The Trip

Like I said, I don’t have a car. So moving cross-country for me was an analysis of alternative transit options. Renting a car or whatever for the trip was way too pricey. That left me with travel by plane, bus, or train. After weighing everything out I decided to move by train. It offered the best combination of price, comfort, and allowable luggage while also checking something off my bucket list.

Practicality AND nostalgia. It’s a two-fer!
Practicality AND nostalgia. It’s a two-fer!

The plan started getting scrambled before I even left. The day I had the money to buy the ticket was also the day I just happened to hit a major Amtrak sale. I was able to travel first class from Seattle to Chicago for only $30 more than traveling coach – and that $30 covered all of my meals during the 2 day journey. Since when does first class save money?

Home sweet home. It was seriously like a tall coffin. I’ve been in bigger cars. But I had access to a shower and could sleep lying down. Absolutely worth it.
Home sweet home. It was seriously like a tall coffin. I’ve been in bigger cars. But I had access to a shower and could sleep lying down. Absolutely worth it.

Once I reached my little sleeping compartment the whole thing began resembling a mini retreat/archetypal Journey. I was moving ever-forward towards my future but had no control over the process itself. I had to just relax and go with it. I spent the two-day trip from Seattle to Chicago sleeping, using my prayer beads, or reading as the wheels clacked on. I had plenty of time to process, more than I’d expected, and I took the chance to reconnect and rebalance and even grieve for what I was leaving behind. By the time I got off the train I felt renewed and revitalized in ways I didn’t even know I needed.

Then I hit Chicago. And what I thought at the time were a bunch of snags.

We arrived in Chicago about 2 hours late. I had plans to meet up with a friend while in town, but those fell through at the last minute due to some unexpected stuff happening as I pulled into the station.

But once again, everything worked out in ways I could not have predicted. Because I had traveled to Chicago in the sleeper cars I got access to the first class lounge, which had a holding area for carry-on luggage. That freed me up to get a little taste of Chicago solo. I grabbed a cab in front of the station and had the driver take me to the “best deep dish pizza in Chicago”.

Sorry, Chicago – as far as I’m concerned New York wins the pizza wars. This was like eating a casserole AND the pan it was cooked in!
Sorry, Chicago – as far as I’m concerned New York wins the pizza wars. This was like eating a casserole AND the pan it was cooked in!

I got to the pizza place and started stressing the time. We’d arrived late, Chicago drivers are apparently all insane (seriously, it was like driving in NYC), and the pizza place told me I’d be waiting an hour for a pizza. Casseroles take time to bake, apparently. *grin*

I decided I’d go for it, and if I felt rushed I’d just take my pizza to go. Not a worry, though. While I was waiting I got a text message saying my connecting train had been delayed by a few more hours. That let me relax into my very tiny Chicago experience. While I was nibbling my pizza on the patio and people-watching a busker set up nearby, treating me to some sweet drums. And since he was a pizza fan, he welcomed my leftovers so I didn’t have to pack them on the train. How cool is that? I even managed to hit a drugstore on the way back to the station for some caramels and ibuprofen.

Once I finally boarded the train there were several more hours of delays, which screwed up my car reservation. If things had gone as scheduled I’d have arrived in Syracuse at noon, been picked up by the car rental place, grabbed a car, and been at my destination by 3ish. However, we didn’t even get in to Syracuse until 6p – an hour after the car rental stopped picking customers up. I could just see me and my bags, stranded at the train station, sleeping on a bench overnight…

Welcome to New York?
Welcome to New York?

Again my way was cleared. I called the car company to explain the delay and ask that my reservation be canceled from the train. When I hung up the gentleman in the seat in front of me – to whom I’d not spoken word one during the trip – turned around and offered to share a cab with me to the open-much-later car rental place at the airport. He’d pay for the cab ride, of course, but since he was already going there anyway why not ride along?

Awesome! No bench for me! *happy dance*

We get to the airport, and come to find out the company I’d originally reserved the car with had a weird regulation that would have made them useless for my needs anyway. However, since I was at the airport I was able to walk 5 steps to the left and rent a car from a different company. Without all the delays I wouldn’t have been able to rent the car I actually needed without huge amounts of stress and cab fees. And it didn’t cost me a dime.

The gentleman who paid the cab driver even watched my stuff for me while I went to fetch my car. And two random guys in front of the airport even loaded my stuff into the rental for me. How sweet is that?

After Arrival

Here’s the final cherry.

Because yes, this whole move was as awesome as a chocolate sundae.

Because yes, this whole move was as awesome as a chocolate sundae.

The new place in New York really is a new place. As in, newly purchased. And that purchase was running into snags too. I did all my travel arrangements and moved out here before we knew for sure that we’d even get the house. When I boarded the train I knew I was moving cross-country to a place I couldn’t even legally enter yet. A bit nerve-wracking for me, and highly disruptive to the lives of the people I was moving in with! However, we just so happened to receive the keys (and permission to actually move in) the day I arrived. *raises brows* Convenient, that.

I could keep going – and will in future posts – but I’ll stop there.

Take Aways

I could say that everything that happened was merely a run of fortuitous events. Or even random coincidence. Pure luck.

Although if that's my luck I need to head to Vegas!
Although if that’s my luck I need to head to Vegas!

Going with random chance on this just doesn’t work for me. For me, it requires exhausting mental gymnastics to figure out how to dismiss all of this as some cosmic quirk. Frankly I don’t see the point in playing those kinds of games with myself. It doesn’t gain me anything. It’s easier to simply accept that my Lady loves me and wants me to be here than it is to try to explain everything away.

This move is completely changing my life. A lot of the ways are good even now. Some of them are less than comfortable. Others will be fine once I adjust. And when I’m not running myself ragged I’m a little homesick for Seattle. But I know that, for now, this is where my Lady wants me to be. I can trust that as much as I trust Her, and that really is rock-solid.