Moving sucks. I think we can all agree on that as a universal truth. I mean, the process of moving sucks, of course, the eventual outcome is much more convoluted and unpredictable. But no one likes to put everything they own in boxes, load it into a vehicle, and drive a long way just to go through the reverse of the process. No matter how much you have, moving will remind you that you have way too much crap, that you are more a hoarder than you like to think.
Allyson and I are prepping for a move across country, 36 hours of driving across the continental divide in late January and using a moving company, which means you can’t go with the standard college student packing of just throwing crap into a black hefty back and shot-putting it into the back of a truck. We want no shifting of that heavy book-box onto our plates and knick-knacks when this moving van crosses the Elk Mountain Pass in Wyoming under blizzard conditions.
I’ve been completing a lot of the errands this week required to relocate like changing address checking to see if renters’ insurance covers a move (got a very blunt, “NO,” to that question, by the way) and I’ve been trying to pack stuff here and there in between these tasks and my two part-time jobs. I’ve thought of how Abraham must have felt when he packed up everything he had, all his family and servants and made a 900 mile journey on foot to some place he’d never been. In some ways, I envy that he didn’t have to search for new insurance in the promise land, change his ID, register to vote, cut off his utilities, pay a huge drop-off fee for a rental car, or worry about where his cats would crap while stuck in the back of his rented SUV.
Sometimes the preparation for a trip can make you lose sight of why you even wanted to take the trip. You’re fooling yourself it you think any trip to something new is not going to have challenges. We do this to avoid that slow burn of missed opportunities, of bodies and spirits dwindling down to something weak that hasn’t grown in years and we didn’t even realize. We don’t know a whole helluva lot about Abraham, but I like to think he had an itch that really needed to be scratched, that he felt like there was something he needed to do that he couldn’t do in Ur. Moving sucks in a very immediate, short-term kind of way, but stagnating sucks a lot worse over a lot longer period of time.
I watched Boyhood this week, a movie by one of my favorite directors, Richard Linklater. If it doesn’t win best picture, there is nothing just in this world. It’s an enormous movie that spent 12 years shooting, so it could follow the actors growing up in real time. You can read my review of it by clicking here. Watching these characters grow up and move through life, you can’t help but look at your own life and how it’s been different and the same as this movie. I remember a lot of those feelings. I long for a lot of those feelings to reoccur. The movie made me more motivated to go out and live and keep growing. Keep having experiences. Not the kind of feeling that you are supposed to be doing something specific and are behind on all the things in your life that you should have already done. I didn’t feel the need to live up to some standard that you are supposed to have hit by a certain age. I just wanted to keep finding myself in situations where I connected, where I observed something I wanted to remember.
On Wednesday, I went to Camden to meet with my financial planner and catch him up on the move, my new salary, and our plans to pay off Allyson’s student loans in just a few months because of it. While there, I dropped by Lakeshore to spend some time at the camp where I had so many life experiences. I got to talk to the staff and trade life updates, video of my new home. But, I also felt this strong urge to go walk around the camp. I went out to the creek and just listened to it trickle along. I went down to the waterfront and watched the ducks like I did so many afternoons on my lunch break. I stood at those huge windows in the sunroom and looked out across Kentucky Lake, like I would do in so many quiet, prayerful moments.
I began to think of how this used to be normal for me. How walking the property was a staple of every day. I just walked it to observe, to reflect, to supervise, to look for places to help. I rarely walk with those intentions these days. I am normally walking to a specific destination because I have a specific task. I am focused on what must be done later, not what is in front of me. I can see how this drains me. I’m more consistently tired. I don’t have as much energy. I get cranky and non-social easier. I can’t recall details from entire days. While I walked around camp, realizing how much of a loss that was to me, I became excited thinking that I would soon be doing this again. I would walk under tall evergreen trees, emerge on the beach with that enormous Pacific Ocean coming right up to my feet. I’d look over the glassy surface of Lake Smith at sunset and see the mountains of Tillamook State Forest. People would be moving all around me. I’d be making new friends every week, helping people find rest, reflection, helping people connect. All that is waiting on the other side of that 4-5 day drive. Rockaway Beach, Oregon is there waiting for Allyson and me to bring our stuff and start this new chapter.
Yeah moving does suck. But damn, arrivals are amazing.