Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Moving Rocks

After a little over ten years in the same house and at the same job, I am moving from Roswell, Georgia to Memphis, Tennessee.

If it “takes a heap of living to make a house home,” what does it take to move?

It depends on what you have to sort through, on what you have to pack, and what you have to unpack.

My friends know we have had a garage that no cars can fit in, because we’ve a good bit of our past with us.

For example, I have a box of rocks.

I have been moving some of these rocks for at least thirty years. Fossils appear in this box from my husband’s childhood collection. The fossils weren’t formed during his childhood. We’re pretty sure they were already solidified by 1952. In high school he displayed them in his room in some fishnet hung from the ceiling over his antiqued avocado green dresser drawers.

A red rock with some sparkling qualities dominates the box. This rock hales from a park in Colorado. The Civilian Conservation Corp constructed the fences and pavilions at that park. Ken’s dad, Jim, proposed to Ken’s mom, Shirley, at that park during World War II.

Once the boys, exultant in discovery, uncovered shards of broken Coke bottles, rusted AW Root Beer caps, and some pieces of broken concrete. When someone disparaged their finds, one of them defended with, “One’s person trash can be another’s treasure.” A concrete treasure stays in the box of rocks.

I’ll admit, my box of rocks, my portfolios of Trevor and Chris’s artwork, the CD jewel cases, the boxes with the school certificates, medals, trophies, and immunization records needed some thinning out.

Paper, scissors, rocks.

When you move what do you keep? What do you cut? What’s solid and sustaining?

It’s not really the things I see that make moving so hard.

Well, okay. Stuff does make moving hard.

Cleaning stuff out that garage reminded me of a weird little film called
in which an eccentric woman dealt with her obsessive keeping of stuff by torching her abode. Okay, so a few thoughts of arson have passed through my mind. Figuring it would be hard to set a fire that would selectively preserve some of the priceless papers has repressed the impulse.

My rocks might have survived a garage fire.

After ten years of boys, of teens, of laughter and tears
of work, of play
of faith and fear

After ten years
I am saving and sorting the things of life
our boys’ childhood
the seasoning of our marriage
the weaving and unweaving of friendships and careers

I have resisted torching stuff
I have sorted, straightened, sifted, and tossed

Now, so much is gone
Yet, so much goes

I have packed

much joy
some sorrow
failure and success

I have packed some fear
and bundled up some doubt

I have packed prayer
and a confidence hard won by sharing the yoke of life
with a loving empowering God of grace

I cannot pack Trevor or Chris and Lauren

I cannot pack my sister, Kim, her husband Ted,
their children Katy and Josh

I cannot pack my many precious friends

I can take my life with Ken
my mom, Jo, along with the heritage of love we bring from all of our parents
the continuing treasure of parenthood

and my box of rocks

I can make the unpacking a work of art

a labor of love

Unpacking can reveal
gifts received
the grace for which my weaknesses continue to beg
the antcipation of joy, friends, and ministry

Moving hurts
Moving exhilarates
Moving rocks



Jesse Faris said...

Beverly!! This is Jesse Maddox and I have been living in Memphis for the past 3 years! Your husband just moved into an office right next door to one of my good friends who happens to be my neighbor as well (Courtney Garland), and I've been doing youth ministry with a lot of kids that go to your new place of employment. I'm thrilled to hear that you are in are a much welcome addition! I'll have to get in touch soon...

Beverly Choate Dowdy said...

What are you doing up so late???
I can't wait to see you. Starbucks is waiting for us.

Anonymous said...

this is lela...i miss you already! many many blessings as you settle in.

Anonymous said...

Bev, as usual I've enjoyed your blog! It's a blessing to know that you are moving rocks and are not lugging boulders! Althugh it isn't a stones throw to Memphis for us, I'm sure in the near future we'll be rockin with the Dowdy's in the state of Tennesee! Love, Bonnie

Keith Brenton said...

Your rocks moved me.


JAW said...


I hope the move to Memphis has gone smoothly. Eat at Corky's for me. ;)


Jami said...

Moving does provide one with the opportunity to find all sorts of interesting things that we as humans keep. I have successfully moved a canned ham collection four times. And if I move again, the ham will move again.

Nicely executed post, Bev. We miss you!


kim said...

Ted always says that when the great judgment day comes we will either get to go to heaven or... we will have to move.

Bev Blair said...

You are a much better mover/collector than I. I recall a liter bottle filled with water that occupied a corner of our garage for a few years in the 1990s. We had collected it with 3 small boys when we waded across the Mississippi River at its source in Lake Itasca, Minnesota. The bottle continued on our journey to a family reunion in Winnipeg and back to Warren, Michigan where it was proudly displayed in that garage corner. Hmmm...I should have saved it, given it to you, and let you return it to the Big River. Or you could have displayed it in your garage. Had I only known.

Anonymous said...

love you mom.


Anonymous said...

Hey Mrs. Dowdy,
We really miss you back at the old school. The deep talks about Government and Religion and even life are forever missed by the class of 06'. I miss your wisdom and jokes about today's world and how we should live it for God, but God has called you to my hometown and I am thankful that people in the city of Memphis can be blessed by such a great person. Come visit us sometime!
-God Bless
McLaine Merrick (Class of 06'!)

Anonymous said...

I love you and I love the way you write. I so miss seeing you everyday, but I know Mephis is a better place with you and Ken there.