Sunday, September 30, 2012


1 b : of or relating to a change of residence
2 b : stirring deeply in a way that evokes a strong emotional response

Moving is hard work.  Arduous physically.  Tough emotionally.  Draining mentally.  Pretty much difficult all around.  We hired movers to help with the physical portion of our move and it was still exhausting.  If 10+ hours of watching my stuff being loaded onto a truck was tiring, I can't imagine how I would have held up if we'd actually done all of it ourselves.  We loaded up on Monday, moved in on Tuesday (nearly two weeks ago) and started unpacking right away.  My goal for that first day was to get the beds set up with linens and towels in each bathroom.  Doesn't sound like much, but doing it in the midst of directing movers from one room to another with boxes and furniture was no small task.

The next morning the real work began - the work of turning a house into a home.  First stop: the kitchen.  As I prayed with my 12 year old daughter A on our first night in our new house, she said to me, "Mom.  I didn't want to eat out tonight.  I'm ready for you to cook.  Aren't you ready to cook?"  I understood where she was coming from, but there were technical difficulties: everything in boxes, an unloading that stopped just shy of 6 pm and no refrigerator.  I couldn't do much about the lack of a refrigerator, but I could attempt to get the kitchen in working order so that night #2 (or 3) would be different.

Thankfully, I had help: before 10 AM Wednesday morning, two friends were here.  One of whom had made five pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for our first morning breakfast, another of whom stopped at Walgreens on her way to gather drug store essentials inadvertently packed away.  Both got to work unpacking boxes, wiping down dishes and putting them away.  Friend #1 left to take A and B to their tutorial so that I could keep working.  As friend #2 and I tried to figure out where the utensils should go and what to do with the plastic ware, I got a call that two more friends were on their way.

I can not articulate what this felt like.  They drove clear across town - it probably took them nearly an hour to get there - and got straight to work.  It felt like the cavalry had arrived and I was no longer in danger of losing the battle of unpacking.  For a few minutes, they tried to follow the order friend #2 and I had established.  But my mind was not its sharpest, so the cavalry that had just arrived pretty quickly saw that I was no general - they needed a new plan.  Luckily, these are the kind of women who can craft a workable plan with their hands tied behind their backs, blindfolded and gagged.  So one friend unpacked while another told me where to put things in my kitchen.  If you've never had someone else organize your kitchen, I highly recommend it.  I can only imagine the chaos that my kitchen would be had my friend not shown up and put things in order.  She brought an objectivity and mental clarity that I completely lacked and as they left hours later (after feeding K and I lunch, no less), I felt like a burden had been lifted.

That same day, another friend stopped by with a rotisserie chicken.  A few days later another friend came to visit the day our refrigerator arrived.  She brought with her groceries to fill my fridge, right down to burgers we could grill that night.  "Consider it a housewarming gift," she told me as she handed it all over to me.  Other friends gave my children rides to and from places and cut me slack on returning phone calls and e-mails.

I know that I am blessed to have friends who care for my family, body and soul.  But it has never been more clear to me than in recent days.  It was deeply moving to have friends offer help without my even having to ask.  Because honestly, I was too tired to even ask, too wrapped up in getting through the next minute to plan ahead and ask for help, too busy trying to keep my family together to think through how to get children to and fro.

This entire process of selling our home and moving has been an exercise of faith for me.  As such, it has shown me just how little faith I have.  I've reverted to fear, clung to ideals and been terrified to open my hands and receive gifts.  All of which makes God's continued graciousness even more amazing.  Right now I would tell you I hope to never move again.  I would also confess that if I do, I hope I will look back on God's faithfulness through this process in both big and small ways.  Perhaps given another chance, I can move with more grace and less angst.  (But don't count on it.)

In the mean time, I'm going to try to remember both meanings of the word moving: yes we packed up a residence, but we also received gifts from our friends that elicited a deep emotional response: one of gratitude.

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