Life is full of odd little unexpected moments. In this case, it was a phone call last August from our landlord telling us that he needed to sell our condo.
Now, here we are less than two weeks from our move-out date. Packing things up after making this our home for three years. We already have a new place to live, but we will be spending a month at a way-side before finally moving into our new townhome the week after Easter. If any season of Lent has ever been a wilderness time, this one is... we are as homeless as the Israelites were while waiting for their own Promised Land.
This week as I removed books from shelves and dusted them off, I came across so much nostalgia. Old photographs of a past life, airline ticket stubs, a yellowed map, a postcard. A songbook of French hymns. A newspaper clipping I'd stuck inside a book. There are also boxes of memorabilia that came out of a closet at my parents' house: things from college, high school, middle school. My diary from seventh grade. Photographs of old boyfriends. The stub from my first paycheck EVER. A poster from a musical I was in. A handful of old coins, once a child's treasure chest. An old church bulletin from my confirmation day. A tattered Habitat for Humanity t-shirt. Why did I save all these THINGS?
I think sometimes people never move on. Almost six years later, I am still struggling with the enormity of having to move on from Africa. Something inside me tells me it may never happen. Sometimes I think God is telling me I don't have to. Maybe there are times when it is okay not to move on.
On the other hand, so many of these precious memories I have stuck in boxes and inside books are so far from where I am now. I think of one of my best friends who longs to return to our college campus, just to be there again. She and I used to walk and talk for hours in the moonlight around our small college town. She wants to walk again. But I'm not there. I haven't been there for a long time. She would be walking by herself.
When my husband moved to the United States, all of his belongings fit into two suitcases. They weren't filled with clothing, but rather books, photographs, and papers. Now as we pack our home, I am amazed at the sheer number of boxes we have to fill. How much of this stuff is really important? If we only had two suitcases to fill, what would get taken, and what would get left behind? What would we be moving on without?
Life is full of "moving on" moments. They are both scary and exciting, sad and joyful, crushing and freeing. Right now, I am in the wilderness. I don't know when that might change... a new home might do it, or it might not. I guess I'd better make sure I know what's in my suitcases....