The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

Genesis 12:1 – New International Version (NIV) © 2011 by Biblica, Inc.

That quote may sound a bit pompous; the High’s are getting delusions of grandeur you may say. If we were to cut the verse down to the Northern Ireland Version paraphrase, it would simply read ‘God said to the High’s, “Go from your wee country… to the land I will show you”.’ We have not seen any dramatic visions or see any blinding lights. No maps of the Irish midlands have come floating down out of the heavens. We’ve just seen a sequence of decisions that we can hardly control, fall into place in a coherent plan which we believe to be God’s plan for us.

The move to the South is not a plan. It is, hopefully, the conclusion of a very long, and often frustrating, process that has been interwoven with all the complexities and anxieties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Round 1 – Before Lockdown One

We have found the form of God’s call to Abram to be helpful in making sense of our journey. It can be paraphrased as ‘God said “Go from where you are, to where I will show you”‘. It does not say ‘Put this destination into Google maps and click on ‘Start’.’. So, at the start of our journey we had no more idea of where we were going than Abram had at the start of his.

We did have one advantage over Abram, we could go on weekend breaks to spy out the land. Our first break took place before Pauline was called for interview. We were testing out whether Pauline could commit to relocating closer to the Dublin office where the new job would be based. We stayed in Co Meath and explored as far as Co Wexford. This gave Michael an enthusiasm for where we might move to, but it gave Pauline a stronger appreciation of where we were moving from…

Undaunted, Pauline enjoyed her interview and was subsequently offered the job. We started to search the internet in earnest to get a feel for locations and to set a budget. We viewed one house from another weekend break in the Kells area. Whilst we decided not to make an offer on this one, but we were drawn back to the Kells area for the start of what we thought would be a speedy search. Pauline took a break between jobs in January 2020. We took advantage of this to line up a sequence of house viewings. The following map shows the four main contenders centred on Kells. The journey time to Pauline’s new work was much the same as the journey back to her mother in Co Down.

None of the houses were quite right and we were prepared to wait for something better.