What a strangely familiar place! I’ve been here many times before, staring at a bare room, bare walls, a suitcase – all my belongings downstairs in boxes, neatly labeled and numbered. It’s a reminder of my status as a mere “pilgrim” just passing through, a reminder that my roots – though shallow in the area of houses and worldly goods – go deep in the realm of experiences and friendship.
Solomon makes the point in Ecclesiastes that there’s a time for everything: a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh. And there have certainly been tears for me as I prepare to uproot from my current life, from this place that has been a haven for me for nearly a decade – longer than I’ve lived any one place in my life!
There have been tears of frustration as I tried to pack and move everything on my own and I realized the limits of my physical and emotional strength. There were tears of relief as God sent just the right person at just the right time with just the right skill to help me.
There have been tears of sorrow as I anticipate the physical separation from my friends and dearly beloved ones. Saying goodbye really is like a small death, and I know two of my hardest goodbyes will be to my 99-year-old grandmother and my friend Vicki in Sentara Nursing Home. But for every tear of sorrow there’s a tear of joy and thankfulness for the Lord’s blessing in this latest season of my life.
So it’s settled. One week from today I will leave Virginia for my new home, Missouri. My main job will be to care for my mother while my dad is at work during the day. At this point there’s a 50/50 chance that I will keep my current job but work remotely; if that falls through, I’ll be handling French translation jobs and working on launching a career as a freelance writer – my dream job. J It’s a win-win situation.
So many decisions to make during a move: what to keep, what to give away, what part of my life history to sever this time around. As I contemplate each item and prepare it for the “Keep,” “Thrown Away,” and “Give Away” bins, I wonder, Will I regret giving this item away? It’s so hard to know without knowing what life looks like two seasons from now.
All of us are pilgrims passing through. None of us are here for very long. Peter urges us as “strangers and pilgrims” in this world to abstain from freshly lusts, those desires that war against our soul and make us overly attached to the things of this world (1 Peter 2:11). For my part, I’d rather travel light. Getting rid of “things” is like emptying sandbags from a hot air balloon so it can go higher and higher. I feel freer.
And so this chapter closes and the next one begins …