Tuesday, September 3, 2013
We are in our new house, and it feels really, really good.
Moving was a trial, and a few times I thought I'd be crushed under the weight of our junk, of both the physical and emotional nature.
When I went to the shed where I'd stored Jack's Legos, complete with original boxes and directions, I discovered they were covered with ants and ant larvae. Teeming waves of black covered every box, inside and out. I was so angry and defeated. "How much, Oh Lord, How much?" I groaned as I spread everything in the yard and started clean up. Then I saw the mouse droppings. Really???
Around me, neighborhood kids played and squealed, enjoying the last days of summer, and hot tears sprang into my eyes as I thought ALL OF THIS -- this move, this day, this life--- should not be going down this way!
Yet it is.
It took 8 movers 10 hours to load and unload our stuff, even though I thought I'd done a lot of culling beforehand. That's a lot of junk. I found I was much more willing to let go of things on a steamy moving day than I had been just a few months ago. So I started piling stuff in the carport to get rid of. And I just let myself be led. Because pages of Jack's doodles might look junky to someone else but are important to me, while some wedding presents, or an uncomfortable chair, barely used these last 17 years, were better off going to new homes.
There is something about this new house that feels gracious and good.
I'm not sure what it is. It's not much different from our old one, with the exception of a massive master bedroom and bathroom. Was there a lot of frolicking and cavorting going on in master suites toward the end of the Carter administration when this house was built? Because these rooms are JUMBO.
The main living areas are smaller, cozier, and situated pretty much exactly like the old house, so I was able to quickly figure out where to place things. Old me would have relished the challenge of a new floor plan. Anna 2.0 was just glad that the paint colors were non-offensive and I didn't have too many decisions to make. I do hope I'll have some small projects to share with you in the months to come.
I worked round the clock emptying boxes even as my shoulders ached. This is the kind of work I like. Sorting, organizing, beating a stack of boxes into submission. Seeing tangible progress. Moving things here and there and back again.
The spiritual, emotional work comes less readily, and is easy to avoid it under an armload of boxes or yet another "quick trip" to Home Depot.
That is the work that says: Today is the first day of school. Today is the day I should have become a high school mom. In just a few days Margaret will outlive her older brother. How does that feel? What do I do with that? How do we integrate Jack into our new home? Did I run away from our old house? Will I be able to write a book that in some way captures what all of this is like?
The spiritual work follows me as I assure Margaret I will spend much of the day praying for her, and then she asks me, "Do you do that every first day of school?" "Yes." An unasked follow-up question hangs in the air between us, "Did you do it two years ago?" And I think of the mysterious nature of God, because of course I prayed for them both. For their health. And their safety. And their friendships. And their growth.
The mystery follows us outside when we take our traditional First Day of School pictures on the stoop, our new front stoop, and an enormous praying mantis is in Jack's space to the side of the door, right where he would be standing, and I smile and wonder about this crazy life. Praying mantis. Praying. Yes, there will be lots of prayers for this little girl today. And some will be answered the way we want while others may not.
This blog is the place where I do a lot of the emotional and spiritual work. It has been tough to be away from it and from you. But the boxes are now broken down, I can find my devotional books and most of my underwear, and I'm enjoying the calm, peaceful setting and being here with you.