Some people don’t ever really move, living in or near their hometown for most of their life. I never expected to be one of those people, which has been handy while Aaron’s academic career takes us on a slow tour of the midwest. It’s been a wild ride, but we started gearing up for this when we were dating and discussing the future. Aaron and I kept track of how many times we noticed God sending, calling, or taking people away from their families or homes in scriptures. The examples are numerous: Adam and Eve leaving the garden, Noah creating a new home after the flood, Abraham’s journey to the promised land, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, exiled nations, Mary and Joseph, the apostles, etc. Based on these patterns, we determined to look first at what we thought God wanted us to do before considering what might keep us close to our families. For better or worse, the Lord seems to have taken us up on that commitment.
It was exciting to discuss this as star-crossed lovers with dreams of adventure and children and California, but real life hits like a freight train: Besides no babies and no California, we discovered that moving is often (rightly) considered one of the most stressful life experiences a person can go through. You could discuss this in clinical terms – most of the “experts” rate it right up there with a serious illness or a divorce in the amount of stress it creates. It usually means every detail of your life changes, for better or worse. But when you go through it yourself, it isn’t clinical at all. It’s personal. It’s a transition into shocking unfamiliarity in all aspects of life, and ripping up those roots of home is a profound loss no matter how well you prepare for it.
Moving means sacrificing close relationships. After growing up in one place, then spending four years in college, and six years in Iowa, I know a lot of fabulous individuals. It’s not possible to maintain the intimacy of as many friendships as I would like. But I built those friendships because I found wonderful people where I lived, which will happen again wherever I am, and I can’t imagine what a loss it would be to have missed out on knowing any of them, even though I had to trade proximity of old friends to meet the new ones. Moving also means that I am overflowing with relationships, and at 28 I already know and love more friends than some people have in a lifetime.
Moving challenges our finances and possessions. Since we have never had any moving expenses covered – but maybe someday they will be!? – this has made significant impact on our budgets and spending in less-than-enjoyable ways. At the same time, moving has forced us into more brutal decluttering and less collecting, which cultivates a more sane life in other ways. Some people are naturally anti-junk and easily cut out extraneous material, but Aaron and I are both the sort of people that need that forced upon us. Moving has also loosed the grip on our bank accounts and our stuff.
Oh God, our help in ages pastOur hope for years to comeBe thou our guide while life shall lastAnd our eternal home.