Anyone who has been to Cape Town will testify that it truly is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Breathtaking coastlines wrap themselves around majestic mountains. The bustling vibe of city life neighbors quiet, rolling vineyards. Multiple languages can be heard in just one city block. The best of all worlds come together in Cape Town.
Which is why I’m sad to leave. After ten years of enjoying this gorgeous city, it is time to go.
Ever since my husband proposed to me, I knew the time would come. His heart — and now our heart — is somewhere else.
And that somewhere else is a strategic somewhere else, a needy somewhere else, an important somewhere else … but it is not Cape Town.
We recently visited that somewhere else, to let our kids get a feel for where we’re headed. Although it’s been on the cards for a full decade, now that the reality is within reach, my eyes viewed the future dwelling through new lenses.
The romantic, rosy-pink lenses were left behind and replaced with realistic, grey-tinted shades.
As we drove mile after mile toward our “somewhere else,” I could feel the air changing. No longer did the coastal breeze provide the moisture we had grown accustomed to. A new, permeating dryness in the atmosphere could not be escaped.
My nostrils begged for humidity, but there was none. My throat pleaded for something to swallow, but all was parched. My skin was pulled taut as I scratched through our bags for adequate lotion and lip gloss.
This was not Cape Town.
“How could I live in a place like this?” I wondered to myself. As I looked out the window, all I saw was brown. Brown, brown, brown. No color, no life, no variety. Just brown.
There was dirt everywhere. And not even the nice kind of dark, rich soil. No, this was just dirt. Sandy, dusty dirt.
“Where is the beauty here?” I thought to myself. “Is this really going to be all that I have to look at for the rest of my life?”
I found myself beginning to have a negative attitude before we even got there — and this was just a visit! We hadn’t even moved permanently yet.
I realized that I had to change my mindset — and quickly. So I asked God to help me. And He did. Slowly but surely, I began to see beauty.
I saw it in the undulating hills of the landscape. The perfectly uniform aisles between planted crops. Row upon row of sunflowers with their humble heads bowed low.
Yes, this place had potential.
No, it was not Cape Town, but with God’s help, I could learn to grow here. With God’s help, I could learn to blossom amidst the dryness and the dirt. If it is His purpose to uproot me and my family, then He will make us bloom where He chooses to plant us.
The most poignant example I can think of when it comes to someone who truly bloomed where she was planted was my mom. After a nine-year battle with cancer, the Lord moved her into a hospice facility. Chemotherapy treatments were terminated, and the waiting game began.
Yet even as she was confined to her allocated hospice room, she did not fail to blossom. I soon learned that after just two weeks of residency, my mom was meeting with staff members each night in her room to pray for them and encourage them.
One of the nurses was having trouble with a boyfriend and had come to my mom in tears. My mom had prayed for her and read a portion of Scripture to her.
When I first heard about what happened, my sinful reaction was, “How messed up is that? She is the one dying here! She is the one who needs to be prayed for and encouraged, not them!”
But I was wrong.
The situation was not backwards or messed up. It was just right. My mom knew exactly where she was going when she died. And she made the most of every opportunity to make sure that as many people as possible were going to join her there one day.
Even in a building permeated with the smell of death, my mom bloomed where the Lord had planted her.
As I peer through the passenger window with mild trepidation at what lies ahead for our family down the road, I can rest assured that God will not leave me as an aimless seed blown about by the wind. He may uproot me and transplant me to an unfamiliar landscape, but He will not allow me to wither.
Though I will leave part of my heart behind in my beloved Cape Town, I can trust that no matter where He chooses to transplant me, He alone can make me bloom where I’ve been planted — even if it does appear on the surface to be a rather dusty patch of dirt.
Welcome to Ungrind!
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Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
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