Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Die a thousand deaths for a new beginning

Wind turbines on the way home.
Life is about movement.
"You know the stuff we were going to bring down here?" I look at W as we gaze around the basement. "We'll be able to take maybe a quarter of that." Bare Sheetrock covers most of the walls and some of the ceilings. Fiberglass insulation hangs in the gaps between floors.

W and I agree that paring down is the name of the game. We don't want to cram the new space with stuff. Only necessities, culled from 10 rooms of this house, can fit where we'll live - a little kitchenette, dining area, living-sleeping quarters, 3/4 bathroom, and two small offices. It's more than many people have, and we are thankful for it. But the sheer volume of what we're accustomed to using is overwhelming.

A river-view on the way home.
The more things change, the
more they stay the same.
"We only use a fraction of our things," says conventional wisdom. I must not fit the standard profile. I love variety and rotate through clothing and household things each year. I'll be reaching for a lot of vanished items after we downsize.

We have lots of company. Yup, I use my huge turkey roaster three times a year. The raclette maker at least twice. The huge punch bowl and fondue pot? About the same, but for different events.

In the new space, I probably won't have an oven - just two induction burners. Who needs that roaster? Who will use the china that's we've pulled out for different occasions? The tablecloths? The guest beds and their linens? The extra bottles of favorite toiletries? The spare electronics? Not us.

Out they go. I hate doing garage sales; we don't have the time or energy to waste on pricing and negotiations. Need anything? Let us know!

Fun and hijinks at the
family reunion last week
I'm thinking about a "Free or Donate Garage Sale" to get rid of things. We could just put things in the driveway. Mark a few larger items with a suggested price. Set a donation box at the side of a table for those who want to contribute to our mission. For those who'd rather not donate, take things away for free! What's left at the end of the weekend goes to GoodWill or the SallyAnn. It may come to that.

On other fronts, W and I were both sad to leave our cabin in Montana yesterday. W insists we'll be back. With a limited annual trek to renew our visas, will our time be spent there? I doubt it. I waited 15 years after drawing up the plan to "almost finished" this year. The front door needs painting and there are a few minor projects ... but the cabin is basically done now. Just in time to leave it. The kids may enjoy it in future years, but we'll be gone.

The boring cabin hallway is now
a map room. Thanks,
National Geographic mag!
Those of you who have left behind family and friends know the thousand deaths of moving. We leave the old neighborhood. We lose the comforts of knowing where things are in the house. We upset routines and regular appointments. Leave trusted friendships.

"We've been there. We know." Missionaries and pastors who have been through this grieving process are encouraging us. "There's something new worth reaching for and leaving the past behind."

I hope so. Coming home yesterday, I felt the burden of downsizing, sharing the house, and sloughing off the past. No more faculty Christmas dinners. No more impromptu hospitality on the scale we're used to. "C'mon, have it at our place!" we used to say when people needed a venue. No more.

W screws in the last light
fixture at the cabin

Yet under it all is the relief that our temporary space is small and limited. After we've thrown out the last "it-was-good" item, life will pare down into new rhythms and opportunities. I'm quite looking forward to that.

Read more:
*As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time on and for evermore. Psalm 125:2 NLT

*For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Colossians 1:13-14 NLT

*May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 NLT

Moravian Prayer: Lord, our God, surround us. Renew our bodies, souls, and spirits in your name. Help us to love one another. All glory, thanks, and praise through Christ our Lord who we carry in our hearts until your perfect day. In Jesus' name. Amen.


  1. I've pondered the saying 'Don't trade trinkets for treasure,' but what really trips me up is...what if your trinkets are treasures, because the have stories/memories/meanings tied up in them. I can't imagine going through a 'lifetime' home and trying to decide what was important enough to hold on to and in turn, what was meant to be left behind. All I can say it, I pray that the Lord will fill you with such peace. I hope that the new things this new chapter brings, will make you smile at the way God knew...just what you really needed. Love you.

  2. we picked up from WA state and moved to Bob's boyhood home in Erie, PA and left many things, could have left more! sits in the basement of the Erie house unused. We did just put things out for people to pick up and gave away some to the "Greenhouse" to friends and some our son took to their build trash hole(they had just completed building their home north of Newport) and buried it in the dirt! It is hard to leave and to let go.
    Guess today we are facing that again. Seems to be an on going thing with the Lord. Open your hand and let that go...I am the important One.
    Loved all these photos...thanks for sharing them.
    We will be in continuous prayer for your support to come in and for overcoming all the challenges of change that ly ahead. Leslie and Bob G