Relocation requires choosing what to keep and what to discard

Relocation requires choosing what to keep and what to discard

From age five to 18, I lived in the same house with my parents and two sisters. My childhood was stable with a secure identity and strong sense of belonging.

That all changed when I moved to college. My dad rented an RV so the whole family could drive to Tallahassee to settle me in the dorm. After lugging bedding and clothing into the small room, my family left. The sorrow of separation almost overwhelmed me.

That was the first of many transitions. After college, I married and moved 14 times in the next 20 years. At each stop, I met kind neighbors and navigated becoming part of a community. God always provided someone to befriend me, but the changes never were easy.

This week, I prepare for my 20th move so that I can be closer to my sons and their families. Though I have the packing drill down pat, making choices for what to keep and what to leave conjure up memories. A quilted wall-hanging reminds me of a small country church where I learned about prayer. A bright yellow sign painted with the word “faith” was a gift from a student. A dress makes me smile to recall a girls’ outing and shopping spree.

Though I want to cling to everything, there simply isn’t room for all in the moving truck going to a smaller home. Holding each treasured possession, I savor memories, but then place unneeded items with tenderness in a stack to be given away for others to enjoy.

Odds-n-ends fill the backseat of my car: seashells collected on beach walks; a rolling pin never used; a humidifier; and winter gloves, which are hardly useful in southern Florida.

I marvel at the abundance overflowing boxes around me. How did I acquire so much?

The tangible objects are nice, but what’s most valuable are the fond recollections of being with people who care about me. Have I made the most of the time where I am building relationships that matter?

And what new associations can I embrace, even while struggling with good-byes?

I wonder if Abram felt the same emotional struggle when God told him to leave the familiar behind and go to a land He will show. May we all feel God’s closeness as we travel to new destinations.

Today’s Bible verse:

“So Abram went, as the Lord had told him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.” (Genesis 12:4 NIV)

*** Resource for help with packing: