I don’t much like changes…
How about you?
This year I moved from my home of almost fifty years, the place where my daughters grew up and where I lived for most of my life. Sifting thru the things that I found in boxes, closets, cabinets, attic, and the garage awakened memories that had been stored away in the deep recesses of my mind. And I’ve lived them again, the good and the bad.
Change—it’s been a way of life for me. I tend to call the big, the major changes, chapters of my life. I figure I’m now in Chapter Seven! Now seven rings a bell in my nit-picky brain … in the Bible seven symbolizes completeness or wholeness and perfection. For example, God created the world in six days and declared it good. By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; and on the seventh day He rested from all his work. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy. Hmm m, resting sounds pretty good right now—and I definitely like the sound of entering a blessed time!
Okay, I know, I’ve gone down a rabbit trail, so back to the subject of changes. Some were welcomed with open arms, such as graduation from high school and moving to a college dormitory. At seventeen years old the world was exciting and new, life was beautiful. On second thought … maybe I do like changes! Well, good changes anyway, these are indeed welcomed.
However, and there’s always a however, isn’t there? It’s the unexpected ones—the sudden loss of a job or a move across the country and leaving a home you’ve dearly loved. Then there’s the life-altering one, the death of a loved one. It shakes our souls, and we’re left trembling and disoriented. These changes force us to look at who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.
There are the planned changes we know we have to make, such as what I’ve done this year. I’ve “left home” again. Moving into a smaller space meant leaving behind many bits and pieces of my life, insignificant things that had no meaning to anyone but me, little treasures that evoked memories of a life that is now buried in the past.
I’ve come to realize that these little things are sometimes soul-searing. One was a picture of an owl my daughters drew when they were very young. It somehow got lost during the confusion of the move and the longer I searched for it, the more important it became to me. I eventually found it tossed halfway under the deck in the backyard where we’d been shifting boxes in and out of the garage. The owl is drawn on an old piece of board with a chain attached to hang it with—which I certainly did for a long time. The memories and tears come when you turn it over and find their childish signatures and the words “To the best parents in the world.” I can still picture their excited faces as I opened the gift they had so carefully wrapped in tissue paper with what must have been a whole roll of tape. Absolutely no way could I leave this behind. It’s hanging in the garage of my new home and I smile at it every time I go to my car.
Memories, they’re important, they are the way we touch our past. The past is what makes us who we are. Memories—they are never finished.
As this move ripped through my life, new memories and new scenes have formed in my heart. One Saturday as my daughters and I were working to clear out their childhood home, and shedding a few tears along the way, we found a set of puzzle blocks in a box. Each side made a picture—there are six puzzles as blocks are six-sided. The trick was to get the correct sides face up and then complete the puzzle. We took a much-needed time-out to see if they could still work the puzzles! My great-grandson that was sitting in my daughter’s lap eventually got down and started helping. New memories, sweet memories.
There’s no way around it, change is just plain difficult even when we plan it. I think I may have gone into a fugue state the past few months, much like grief—nothing seemed real at first then the ramifications set in, I was really leaving my home behind. Ever so slowly a new normal has begun to take place along with a renewed interest in where life will go from here! And a deep thankfulness to my daughters, granddaughters, and grandson who cared enough to give up weekends for several months to move me, who worked until exhaustion set in, and continued to love me—thank you, my beloved family.
Throughout this long, arduous move, I have been reminded of a story about a missionary couple who had been working in Africa for many years. They were returning to New York City to retire with no pension and fearful of the future. As luck would have it, they were on the same ship as Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning from a big-game expedition, and they watched the passengers and crew fussing over him.
When they arrived in New York a band was waiting to greet the President and the missionary couple slipped off the boat unseen and unwelcome. They found a cheap apartment and that night as they settled in, the man’s spirit broke. Dejected, he told his wife, “I can’t take this. God is not treating us fairly.”
His wife could only answer that maybe he should tell the Lord how he was feeling. Later when he came back in the room his attitude had completely changed. “What happened,” his wife asked.
“The Lord settled it with me,” he answered. “I told Him how bitter I was that there was no one to welcome us home and how hard it was to watch the tremendous homecoming the President got. As I finished my tirade and rose to my feet, it felt like a hand touched my shoulder and I heard the words … ‘but you’re not home yet.’”
And I’m not home yet either …
So here’s to Chapter 7,
To my family,
To old and new friends,
To old and new memories,
To old and new times,
To the blessing of Hope that is forever new.
The best is yet to be!