Moving is hard. Moving after 30 years in a place is probably even harder. I don’t know for as sure, as this is my first time making such a move, but it feels harder. And more emotional. Which might be the 30-year thing, or it might be the peri-menopause. Who can say?
As a child, I moved a lot. I think one time I counted 12 places that my family had lived in 12 years. Looking back, I realized that I was being adolescent-dramatic when I came up with that number. I think two of those places were brief resting places between houses. So the true number was 10. 10 places by 12 years old.
Here is the count as I remember it now: New Jersey – 1 location, Arkansas – 4 locations, Tennessee – 1 location, Arkansas again – 2 locations, Florida – 1 location, and Alaska – 1 location.
Since moving to Arkansas in 1997 to attend college, I have lived in 4 dorm rooms, 3 apartments, and 4 houses. All within a 2-hour radius of each other. So moving 18 hours away is a bit of a jump. And, while parts of this process feel very familiar, figuring out how to move a whole life across the country is all new territory.
Is it midlife-dramatic to say that I feel a little bit like we are living Matthew 19:29, leaving our house, brothers, sisters, father, mothers, and fields to follow a wild Holy Spirit-led adventure?
There is the emotional aspect – leaving behind most of our family, our oldest friends, all our hopes and dreams for Preservation Acres, our church, and our history in this place. Where we are going there are no landmarks from our first 25 years of marriage and child rearing. No longer will we casually drive past places where we had our first date, got married, watched Wylie perform in his first play, heard Miles play the first notes on his saxophone, or were confirmed as Episcopalians.
And there are the practical aspects – finding new doctors and car mechanics, setting up residency in a new state, learning the routes to a new church and the grocery store, and discovering our favorite new coffee shops and flea markets. Changing our address and eventually our payment info on just about everything.
And finally, there is the physical aspect – the packing – not just the house, but also our barn, the rehoming of some of our critters and the transportation of others, deciding what to take, what to leave, what to sell, what to give away. Deciding how to best get a tractor and all its implements across the country without breaking our vehicles or the bank. There is the coordinating of who is leaving when and how, and where we all stay over during the two-day journey.
And finally, there is the desire to just Get There Already.
Since we have been to the NJ farm several times over the past nine months and spent a week recently, we are already invested and attached to the Place. The house, the land, the outbuildings, the trees, the pool, and perhaps most of all – the future there. We have been talking, praying, and dreaming about this move for nine months. We are ready to birth this baby.
But there is still so much living to be done here. Grass that has to be mowed, meals to be cooked, friends to meet for dinner, nephews’ birthdays to celebrate. We still have bills to pay, toilets to clean, animals to be fed, berries to gather, and flowers to pick. We are, for a few more weeks, still in this place, on this land, in this house. And so, I doing my best to be present to here and now by practicing the spiritual discipline of Noticing. Noticing things like the way the light filters in through the linen shades in the kitchen and spills over the table that we made during the early days of the pandemic. I try and notice the way the Mother Tree’s branches, so heavy and full with her summer growth, bend and wave slowly in the breeze, changing the shadows on the lawn. I try and notice the creaks of our wood floors as I walk over them at night to get a snack. I try and notice all the things that I that right now seem so daily, but soon will just be a memory.