Two years ago, I overheard my husband James & 2.5 year old son talking:
James: Tomorrow we are going to move house. Will you help me?
Evan: Yes, daddy. I will push really hard!
Today I will be unlocking the door to our new house- our seventh home in eight years. I imagined myself as an old lady with grandchildren in the last two houses we bought. I remember why now. After you move, you swear you will never do it again.
I also said that about pregnancy and childbirth.
Love People, Use Stuff.
It is overwhelming (in a good way) to see the material things I released come back to me once again. It’s that puddle and splash park thing. I have been reminded over and over through this process that it is the immaterial that has value- and that reward is wrapped in risk, and fulfilment cloaked in faith. I’ve also learned that you do, on a very practical level, need stuff.
My friend Dani has a note posted in her kitchen that comes to mind as my head is full of housewares and furniture shopping. It reads-
Don’t love stuff or use people.
Love people and use stuff.
Relationships trump possessions. It isn’t the stuff I left in England that I miss. It’s the people. The houses might be gone, but the friendships I found in those neighbourhoods have come with me. That being said, you need stuff to take care of the people you love.
After a rough week with her, I prayed and asked God for extra grace to give my seven year old daughter. The move has been draining on her. When we got rid of all of her toys apart from a few stuffed animals, she compiled a list of the things she wanted most after we repatriated.
One hour after my prayer, I had a van full of her toy requests: model ponies and animals, Barbie accessories and a house, and build-a-bear clothes I picked up at a garage sale. Everything EXACTLY as she had requested- and for less than $50. Driving home that day with tears in my eyes, God gave me the tools to bless her. If you want to show love to a mother, love her kids. That day, God loved me by loving my daughter well. He heard my prayer- and before he gave me the stuff, he extended grace and compassion to me so I could pass it to her. That redemptive side of faith often gets missed when churchy people talk about God. He sends little (and big) messages that whisper “PS. I love you-” now love the person next to you.
My first friend in our new neighbourhood is actually selling her house right now. She called today and said she has a van load of things for Meredith and the new baby. She named items I need that I hadn’t thought of yet- and many things, I don’t need, but are really nice to have like bath toys. The timing is so perfect for both of us.
I showed up for the walk-through of the new house today expecting to be there for ten minutes. Two hours later, the real estate agent and I had sorted through endless amounts of dishes and housewares and furniture that the previous owner can’t move with her. When I sold my wedding china, I didn’t picture getting to replace different pieces with a pensioner’s tableware for free. I still haven’t picked out a toilet brush cleaner and I don’t own a trash can, but I am the proud owner of a crystal toothpick holder- lol! The coolest part was there wasn’t a single item this lady had in her donate pile that I had already bought.
When we paired down our stuff to 7 suitcases, there were a few odd items that really bothered me to part with. It’s a weird list- the safe, the filing cabinet, flower vases, a grocery bag holder, assorted wrapping paper and gift wrap materials- I know it’s a weird list, but who wants to buy that stuff again? Today, they were left at my new house for me from the previous owner. And her safe is much better than my old one. She can’t move it because it is bolted to the floor. That makes me chuckle. I guess someone could have just carried off my old safe. I hadn’t thought of that.
Now, if the baby bump would stop giving me gas pain and heartburn, I could get some shut eye. I actually have things to unpack. Wahoo!