They came and took it all away. The books and bookshelves; the pictures on the walls and the photo albums in the corner; the dishes, the decorations, and the dining table; the toys from the nursery, the clothes in the closets, and the cat tree in the hallway; the cedar chest with all of my childhood keepsakes, my wedding dress, and the boxes of cards and letters that I have collected through the years. My life was packed into boxes, carried down 3 flights of stairs, loaded into crates, and is headed across the ocean to my new home.
It’s an eerie feeling to see all of your most treasured possessions wrapped up in brown paper and carried away. I couldn’t help but think about the Oregon Trail strewn with the belongings of settlers headed to new territory, symbols of desperate attempts to hold on to the hope of surviving. As that fleeting thought crossed my mind I wondered why my bare apartment was creating such bleak images in my head. I want to embrace the change, seize this opportunity for continued growth, and be thrilled by the adventure – what is holding me back?
I pondered and pondered over the weekend: as my neighbor vacuumed my floors at 9:00pm so that I could set up my kids’ beds; as I was surrounded by loving friends and family at a surprise farewell party; as I soaked in the natural beauty of the valley where I’ve lived for my entire married life; as I took my final communion at the church in which I was raised. Finally I realized that my pain comes from leaving the place where I know I’ve lived well. I have an established community, a respected reputation, and a history. Now I’m going to some place I have never been where I will need to build a life from scratch among people I have never met. It’s daunting and I don’t know if I can do it.
It’s true that it’s not going to be easy. Yet instead of focusing on the life that is in those boxes and brown paper crossing the ocean I need to focus on what didn’t go into them: the friends who loaned us their car for 6 weeks; the friend who spent nearly 3 hours helping me stage for the movers and made me laugh through my tears; the friends who text me on a daily basis with Bible verses, prayers, and words of support; my dedicated family who answers our calls at every hour of the day and night; my brave husband and adorable kids who will become my world more than ever before; and me – yes, me! This move is an opportunity for me to discover how much grit and courage lies within me. The Lord has begun a good work in me and He promises to be faithful to finish it. I think that when I’m unpacking those boxes I will be doing so with a fresh perspective. I think that it won’t be so much unpacking my life as it will be unpacking reminders of God’s faithfulness in the past and knowing that it will continue wherever I go.