Quiet Anthem

Honest Faith :: Bold Vulnerability

Thursday, May 31, 2012

On Returning to Phoenix

In August of 1995, ending the summer I had graduated from high school, I accomplished my life’s mission: I moved to Southern California. I had been trying to get out of my native Phoenix since I was five. California, I thought, was where dreams would be fulfilled.

I’ve always been a dreamer. California has purple skies at night. The air smells like freedom.

Phoenix, to me, was not a place where dreams were fulfilled but evaporated—or, worse, melted on the sidewalk while I screamed because my feet were burning.

But something happened after I graduated college: I knew I had to return to Phoenix. Against my will, but for a greater purpose—that of the leading of the Holy Spirit, to whom I had committed in 1995—I perceived that staying in California would lead to my demise.

I reluctantly drove the four hundred miles to Phoenix, not believing—and certainly not seeing—how any of my dreams could be fulfilled here, but hoping that my obedience to what I sensed was God’s calling would somehow buoy me.

I left the following year to New York, where further dreams would be fulfilled (naturally). I stayed on the Eastern End of Long Island, where the air was wet with an ocean current of hope, the desperation of those who wanted to be heard, seen, discovered, known.

After five years there, in which I earned a Master’s degree and began my editing and teaching careers, I woke up one morning knowing if I stayed in New York one second longer, I would wake up in ten years as the same girl—no change, no progress.

This was unacceptable to me, so I packed up my belongings and drove to Phoenix, where I was certain I would not see any of my dreams come to fruition.

Phoenix surprised me, though, with its inviting sprawl, its provision. All my experiences, every one of the twists and turns from California to New York, allowed for opportunities I had dreamed of to arrive in Phoenix.

In Phoenix, too, I married my love, and that love ushered me to Colorado, a place where I had never imagined visiting, let alone living.

Colorado brought forth my marriage, a true marriage, and two daughters who astonish me daily with revelations of myself, of God, of grace, of love.

Colorado, verdant but smelly, felt like a holding cell, where I did what I had to do and not necessarily what I wanted to do, and it leads us to this morning, where I write these words from my parents’ office in Phoenix, where at 5 p.m. today I will drive ten minutes east and have placed in my palm keys to our new home, one that my husband and I selected together.

We chose Phoenix because it seems as if this is the place where our dreams, those visions we’ve been in pursuit of, may be realized. We feel called here. More than this, we feel we belong here. We chose Phoenix because it’s been good to us.

Last night, as we rounded out our drive on I-40, rushing out of the lonesome New Mexican high desert to arrive in the Flagstaff forest, my heart raced—in agony, in expectation—as I wondered one last time if we had made the right decision.

I spent so many years trying to escape Phoenix, looking for greener grass, or perhaps just grass that was green, but I return here willingly now, still waiting to see what profession will come of my husband’s doctorate; what will come of my education, my experiences.

We’ll be teaching in the meantime, offering up our expertise—both in our crafts and in our faith— to others who will listen. We will not get burned.

It turns out, dreams are accomplished anywhere and everywhere. 

Phoenix will be good to us.


Serena Abdelaziz said...

And the smell of smoke will not even touch you.....you will burn bright to shine forth among the Phonecians and bring honor and glory to God through your life!!  Miss you!!

HopefulLeigh said...

Love it! Excited to see what's in store for you.

Christina Rideout said...

Beautiful.....Once again, tears of joy for your journey, your life and the life set before you. I am so thankful that you have found the joy, the path towards your destiny and have chosen to step towards it and not away. Much love to you.  

Monica said...

Renee, I love the way you express things! This shows the Lord's guidance all along!

Debbi said...

I welcome you to Phoenix, where the Holy Spirit has led us even though our beautiful family reside in Colorado. But I still wake up every day full of excitement to see all that God has called us to. We came here knowing that our destiny awaited us and it is still unfolding to us as we pursue HIM!  Love you guys and can not wait to meet up!

Shalle Bosman said...

Phoenix is the one place I love and have only the fondest of memories! So excited for you and your family!!!

DarcyWiley said...

My sister lives a very interesting life there in Phoenix. She is the keeper of the space at an independent cafe/coffee shop there and interacts with people from soooo many backgrounds. I would love to know more about where and what you are teaching and creating in the area.

Renee Ronika Klug said...


Welcome to Quiet Anthem! I live and teach in southeast Phoenix, close to Tempe. Please contact me at reneeronika@quietanthem.com to let me know about your sister's cafe and how you and I (and others) can connect.

Renee Ronika Klug said...

I love my memories of you in Phoenix. They are so much more pleasant than what we had to endure in New York, weren't they?

Renee Ronika Klug said...

Thanks, Mom.

Renee Ronika Klug said...

I'm excited, too, Debbi!

Renee Ronika Klug said...

So am I!

Renee Ronika Klug said...

Thank you, friend. I already miss you but see so much potential in how the Lord will use you to minister to His daughters in Colorado. Have faith in He who has given you your gifts.

Renee Ronika Klug said...

Ooh, beautiful insight. Your new adventure awaits, too!

Shilpa said...

Renee, My friend, you will accomplish all that you seek for you are a genuinely beautiful and intelligent woman! I am glad you are here with us in hopes and dreams. Love to you and the family

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