Moving Top Ten

I’ve been blogging for nearly a year, and have never gone this long between posts, but circumstances have just not been conducive to sitting at the computer for more than a few seconds, and six of the last ten days we have not had Internet in our home. I have an iPhone, but I still missed the ready of the real thing, the tidbits of information that I rely so heavily on. The other day my son Will asked, “how long do cats stay alive?” Great question, but without the Internet I can only guess. We are now fully wired and wireless and so next week I hope to resume my usual weekly schedule. For now, I thought I’d share a quick top ten about moving.

  1. You unearth lovely items you forgot you had.
  2. You unearth ridiculous items no one should ever have and then throw them away.
  3. The slate is clean in a new space, and organization seems attainable. I can look around and envision a place for everything, and everything in its place. It may never be achieved, but at least it seems possible.
  4. Movers remind me something of the greatest generation; they are like the greatest vocation. Each time we’ve had occasion to use them they have worked their tails off with a spirit of joy. The Peruvian crew we had last week was a particularly merry and tireless band of oxen.
  5. Whenever I move I like to make a mental list of all the places I can easily walk to. And the world is my walking oyster in this new place. So exciting! I can even walk the boys to school.
  6. Moving demonstrates how much stuff you have, and ignites a fire to simplify.
  7. And yes we have too much stuff, but this move is one of reunification of our things, and it feels good to have all our belongings in one place. I found it challenging, mentally, to pay that storage bill. Storage seems like such a wasteful thing.
  8. New neighbors are another perk. Will and I have had great neighbors wherever we’ve lived, but it’s always nice to make new friends too. Plus, I’m pretty sure our neighbors from our condo are rejoicing about our departure. The indoor mowing and plastic trucks and obnoxious and persistent noise level that we create is just not appropriate for sharing walls.
  9. New places mean new windows, and I love learning where I can relax with a book and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Our new place has an astounding number of windows, and faces west so the possibilities for reading and basking are many.
  10. Finally, moving is a great reminder that this life is transient. We aren’t ever going to be fully settled, fully content, or fully at home, because this isn’t our home. The more we realize this reality the more our outlook and priorities align with our Heavenly Father’s, and that means greater contentment and fulfillment in this life…however transient!

Three for Three

We are gearing up to move again this week, and it will be the third time in three years. In June of 2006, we moved to Florida and bought a beautiful house, expecting to stay there for the indefinite future. But eighteen months later, we bounced back to the DC area. Even though I loved living in a smaller, cozier city, something about DC really does feel like home. Since our house in Florida wasn’t selling, we decided to buy and live in something modest near Will’s work in Virginia. I found a foreclosed condo with a two-minute commute. Our plan was to live there (here) until we sold our house in Florida, and then reevaluate. Maybe sell the condo. Maybe rent it out. But we never have sold that place in Florida. Hence, Plan B: sell the condo and rent something with a yard, and a place where the boys can ride bikes.
But it’s interesting to reflect on these last two residences; each has housed our family for exactly eighteen months. One is utterly fabulous and spacious and the other adorable, but small. The contrast is stark. I feel compelled to at least consider whether that big house, with all it’s gadgets and high ceilings and modern everything, made me happy?
The answer is no. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed living there and even marveled that it could really be ours. But we’ve been just as content in this little place. My kitchen is small but sufficient, the boys all sleep in one room, and the bathroom that Will and I share is tiny with a single sink.
Often we think, if only I had more this or more that, but that kind of daydreaming just leads to discontentment. It’s a significant blessing to know through experience that living in extravagance has zero effect on my happiness. Jesus said, “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12: 15). And His words always prove true.
But lessons learned once, are not necessarily lessons always applied. We have an incredible propensity to forget. Why do you think the Bible says “Remember!” so many times? We need to remind ourselves of truths over and over and over again. And there is no better way to remember than to record. I’m not terribly organized about it, but I do enjoy having the record of this blog, and I also write in journals that I keep around the house, in the car, in my pool bag, and on the computer. You definitely do not have to be supremely organized about it, the Lord knows I’m not, but I do think everyone should keep some kind of record of spiritual lessons learned and also of God’s faithfulness.
As my daily devotional recently noted, “Those who praise God for His many blessings will find those blessings abounding more and more.” (Indeed Magazine, 6/8/2009).
Let us be intentional this week in discerning and recording life’s lessons and God’s faithfulness. He will be glorified and you will be blessed!