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 Housekeeping 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
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,
or 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
the grace for which my weaknesses continue to beg
the antcipation of joy, friends, and ministry