Yes, moving is an adventure.
I’m just a little over one week into recovery from the process of moving into a new home. My current, cavalier response to people who ask me how it is going is to say, “The next time I move, it will be me in the box!”
The adventure began in February with our decision to start looking seriously for a new home. Finding a home we love, signing a contract, and putting our other home on the market has been exhausting. The art of decluttering (addressed in a previous blog post) as well as the process of packing and finding everything that had been tucked away in every available space was particularly hard and emotionally draining. I kept saying to my wife and my friends, “I just want to be there!” Finally it happened last Friday morning: two trucks filled with seven energetic young men, loaded, moved, and unloaded us all before lunch. We couldn’t have asked for more than that!
Then the unpacking starts(in my opinion, a much more manageable part of the process). We move from total chaos to order, gradually, without the deadline of the moving truck coming to the door. Wondering which box has that thing we really need right now…
This “settling in” phase of the move has given me time to reflect on my wider understanding of home, and moving, and the journey of life. I remembered a book I read early in my ministry and an image lifted there. The book was Going Home by Robert Raines. He shared an emotional story about moving after his divorce, with a U-Haul trailer filled with all his possessions. Here’s how he describes the moment:
A friend, whose car was large enough to pull a small U-Haul trailer helped me load my books and a few pieces of furniture onto the trailer. I was moving to an apartment. I watched his car pull the U-Haul out of the driveway of my family house. A U-Haul. My life reduced to some books and a few sticks of furniture. I notice the words painted on the rear of the depart wagon:
Adventure in Moving.
Rent One Way.
---From Going Home by Robert A. Raines (Crossroads: New York, 1979)
For Raines, it brought home the larger reality: he wasn’t leaving home; our whole lives are about going home. In one chapter, he uses the image of “living in tents” to describe our experience on the journey of life. It conjured up for me visions of hikers on the Appalachian Trail, traveling the path with different companions on different days and pitching their tents as the night comes. Anywhere we live is temporary; we are just hauling our own stuff, until one day we can go home where we bring nothing and need nothing.
This is what is on my mind as I unpack box after box, and I wonder if I really need this much stuff. Does this stuff really make my house my home?
This is what is on my mind as I sit in my office of stewardship and wonder how well I model in my life one who is less concerned with making a home and more focused on going home.
“Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. 3 He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. 5 Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.”
Luke 9:1-6, New Revised Standard Version