This weekend we are moving again. We love it out here where we’ve been living for the last 6 months, but really need to be done with the long drive as we try to meet with people several times a week for support-raising.
I really wasn’t excited about this move when we first started talking about it. I liked the idea of being back in town, having access to biking and walking trails, and being a short walk or drive away from most of my friends and family. But it meant giving up the chickens, the goats, and the cats a lot sooner than I had expected to. It means saying good-bye to two cute little goats who’ve squirmed their way into my heart. It means saying good-bye to a cat who has been my companion since before I had kids. And it means giving up some of my dreams (at least for now), good-bye to fresh goat milk and farm eggs.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a sentimental person. I cling to things that bring me memories and good feelings. God has worked with me on that in the past, and I am realizing that this move, and more importantly the bigger one coming up, will hurt a lot if I don’t hold these things loosely. Because if he has to tear them from me, it is going to mean wounds that will have to heal. But if I hold them loosely, give them up willingly, I know I will begin to feel free.
I’ve purged a lot of things this last week. There were things I’ve gotten rid of that I had refused to let go of in the past. But when I was faced with storing these things for years to come vs shipping them in expensive packages over the ocean, it has made me think more carefully about what I am keeping and why I am keeping it. Really, some of these things are pretty silly. I think it’s funny the things Elise will hold on to, because I know they will be meaningless to her in 2 or 3 years. But at the same time I do the exact same thing. There was a large Chemistry and Physics resource book that has been on my shelf since my freshman year at JBU. It was awarded to me for “outstanding scholastic achievement in Freshman Chemistry.” This book was huge, and John has given me a hard time about it every time we’ve moved it. “Have you ever even opened it?” he’d ask. “Yes. Once, I think.” This last time it ended up in our new house and John didn’t even mention it. I was sorting through books, trying to fit everything we’d had on a bookshelf and a half onto one bookshelf because I didn’t really want to squeeze another bookshelf into our new home. I picked up the book and I took a good long look at it. I opened it to the first page and read through the certificate pasted onto it, and smiled. I am still proud of that achievement. I called Elise over and read it to her. “Pretty cool, huh?” I asked. I’m not sure she was that impressed, but she knew I was proud of it. “Why am I keeping this book?” I wondered to myself. When I was truly honest with myself I had to admit it was just because of pride. It looked impressive on my shelf, it reminded me of how I had stood out in my class, and it made me feel good because of man’s praise. But that isn’t what I’m supposed to be living for. It really isn’t that important that I got good grades in college. Especially if I was doing it to win favor from man and not from God. And so I closed the book, took one last look at it and placed it in the box of give-aways. It’s gone now, sitting on a shelf somewhere at the thrift store, or perhaps more likely, sitting in a trash can outside because really, who wants to buy a huge chemistry/physics resource book?
I even got rid of some of the things I’d tucked away in Emma’s box of things. As we were sorting through the box, and I was taking out piles of medical reports, letters, and other papers I had kept, Elise asked me why I had kept it all. “Well, I didn’t really want to get rid of anything that was connected to Emma back then,” I said. “But now, some of these things don’t seem as important anymore.” I think that is how it is with a lot of things. Now if I could just fast forward to the part where it doesn’t mean that much anymore, so I could get rid of everything that I need to now. 🙂