I live in Modesto California. When Josh and I were dating I thought it an awesome thing that he was from California. I remember a conversation we had once, when we were first dating, about his home. He told me that Modesto means "modest" in Spanish, that should have been a clue. When we got engaged it was a relatively easy decision that I would move to California, as Josh was already settled there, and I was still getting settled in Canada (it made sense at the time anyway).
Now, I know when one says California, a whole number of hot, sunny, beachy, surfy, hollywoody images come to mind. Although Modesto is definitely hot and sunny for most of the year it lives up to its modest name. For the most part I have been very happy living here with Josh. Then there are odd days when I feel completely antsy and discontent. I feel I live in the middle of nowhere. Modesto is close to San Francisco, by 2 hours drive and the beach by 2 and a half hours drive. Not close enough to spontaneously jump in the car for a quick trip out of the valley. It always has to be a planned day trip.
So I live in California, in Modesto, which is like dangling a treat just out of reach of your dog. At least that is how I feel on those days. Last Friday I had one of those days. I suppose the whole process of buying a house has been somewhat overwhelming to me as I see my roots growing deeper and deeper into Modesto soil, and the word settled comes to mind. That's when I get freaked out, like I did last Friday.
I am not a great adventurer, or traveler, by any means, I have just (compared to some people) moved around alot in my life. Even when I lived in South Africa for 18 years of my life my parents were constantly talking about moving somewhere else. For me to say I will live anywhere forever is a hard thing to say, I cannot say it cos I don't believe it. Life can change in an instant, or in a couple of years, you just don't know. All I know is that I want to be where God wants me.
Part of my issue on Friday is that I feel like God wants me here right now, but then I am like "why can't I have a cool adventure in a cool place God? why do I have to be stuck in this valley?". I was chatting to a wonderful Mentor of mine who is currently a missionary in South Africa but lived in Modesto before that. She struggled with the same feelings about Modesto, as have a few other "imports" (as they call non-modesto-ites here, let me just add that Modesto roots run deep!! like generations and generations deep) I have met and become friends with. I said to her that maybe God likes to use Modesto to teach people about contentment. There is this sign downtown Modesto that Josh reminded me of when I shared this conversation with him. (sign shown above and on the right) I have always thought it is the most random sign/motto for a place, I always puzzled over it when we drove past it. Now it makes the most perfect sense. We had a good laugh about it. It truly is a place that teaches contentment. God has a great sense of humour, and he gave me a sign, a real sign...ha ha.....
So I live in Modesto California, and I am learning about contentment. After struggling through these thoughts last Friday, I love the lesson I have come away with. My main subject in my art recently has been about simplicity and finding it in my life. I had these ideal images of simplicity being set by a beautiful beach or on a mountain top. But God has showed me that, right now, simplicity in my life is right here in this Californian, farming valley, a city called Modesto, which literally means modest. How perfect. As my mentor from South Africa reminded me, alot of our life is lived in the valley and not on the Mountaintop, its down in the valley where God meets us, teaches us, carries us, shows us cool lessons, and even bright orange neon signs....all I have to do is stop scuffing my feet in the dust and look up, take notice of the awesome things God is doing in my life. The simple beautiful things he has blessed me with, the things he is showing me. I am happy, I am excited for this adventure I am on with him right here in Modesto.