Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Surviving Change

Well, we've done it. We signed a contract on a house in Mississippi just one week ago, and we are moving just one week from today. Our days are full right now, to say the least, and when I opened the professional movers "Guide to Making Your Move Easy" last night, I discovered why. We were supposed to schedule our mover 8 weeks ago, buy our boxes 6 weeks ago, send out change-of-address forms 2 weeks ago, and be sipping lemonade under a tree at a resort by now, awaiting the transfer of our belongings in leisure and comfort. Ain't gonna happen!

I had, thankfully, packed about 50 boxes before our quick trip down to choose the house, but we've packed another 150 since then, and probably have at least another 50 to go. I'm sure the professionals could have gotten all our cumber into 1/4 the number of boxes it's taking us. At this rate, we'll need two semi's, instead of the 2/3's of one that we have reserved.

In the 10 days leading up to our moving day, we have scheduled 2 birthday parties (for our little family), 2 goodbye gatherings (which we are hosting in our home), 1 overnight trip to another city, 1 set of overnight guests here, and numerous stop-in visits from dear friends. We still have to fill out all of those change-of-address forms and arrange for utilities to be disconnected here and connected there. We have major pieces of furniture and play equipment to disassemble and/or package in crates. And we have a couple of DIY projects that need attention before we leave this house. And, oh yes, all the stuff still to be packed and the cleaning that must be done before we see this house in our rear-view mirror.

Meanwhile, we must carry on with the daily responsibilities of responsible citizens and parents, which now includes home school each morning and tending to at least the minimal amount of ministry-related clerical work, preparing meals for little boys and making sure they are gainfully occupied and not getting into mischief while we are so preoccupied with packing boxes. How will we survive?

Last week, I read an article about survival. Did you know that the original meaning of the Latin word, from which survival gets its root, is "super living?" That conjures up images of Super Woman or Elastigirl, or Helen Reddy's roaring woman from the 1970's who was bringing home the bacon and frying it up in the pan. But doing more than is humanly possible is not what "survival" means.

Nor does survival mean barely eeking out an existence in the midst of overwhelming odds against you. But the word does conjure up images of stranded crash victims melting snow to drink, of three fishermen clinging to the bottom of their boat for 8 days, and the lone waif of a girl wandering through the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in southeast Asia.

Survival -- "Super Living." I've been thinking of that a lot while I've tried to balance all the tasks that must be done this week. "Super-living" is not about the mountain of stuff I have accumulated throughout my life, or my ability to successfully transfer that ever-growing pile to yet another domicile. Survival is not about whether my magazines reach my new destination before I do, or whether I leave no stone unturned in closing out this house.

No, in this particular season, these two intense weeks of transition and change, super living is about leaning into the all-sufficient arms of the One Who orders all my steps, and from the rest and strength that I find there, opening my arms to shelter two little boys who are walking through the second-most chaotic time of their lives.

Super living is about taking time to thank the neighbors who have become our family, going out of their way to help us maintain our wonderful home -- and I don't just mean the house and property, but our home, where the heart is.

Super living is about reaching out to ask forgiveness, to do all that is possible to reconcile broken relationships, to do all that depends on us, before we move on to the next phase of life and the next circle of friends.

Super living is eeking out every last bit of goodie in those friendships that have become most precious, so that the fragrance of their lives lingers as we reach out to form a new community of friends and family.

It's 5:30 am and I have been awake for 2 hours, fretting over the long list of things that have to be done in the next 8 days. This is not super living, so I wanted to take a few minutes to remind myself what "survival" really is -- clinging onto that which is essential to sustaining life. That is you, precious friends, family, co-workers, neighbors. I just want to squeeze you like a sponge until the joy of the love we have shared fairly drips from my heart and mind as I move on to the next place.

Change happens. Surviving it is about super living. You have given me much to super-size my life. Thank you.