We just moved. Same city, just a little further South. We added a fourth bedroom and it got The Kid into the schools that he wanted to be in (i.e. more POC kids). By just moved, I mean that our garage is filled to the gills with furniture and boxes. There’s nothing new about that, particularly. Our garage has always looked like ground zero, even days after we’ve half-heartedly attempted to clean it up. The inside of the house also looks like it was hit by a hurricane, although I’m starting to straighten little corners of the disaster. The guest room is the dumping ground, The Baby’s room has medical supplies spilling out of the doorway and our room has clothes all over the floor, which is usually a big no no for this germaphobe.
Our new house is just like 1.5 miles away so we only boxed some things. Instead, I had a trusty set of 5-7 large reusable bags. I would load them up at the old house and drive them over to the new house, where I would unload them (into an approximate location) and then start the whole process over again. I repeated this approximately 7,423 times between last Tuesday and Saturday. I wore grooves in the road with my constant back and forth. My legs should be ready to compete in the Ms Universe pageant, but, annoyingly, they look mostly the same.
We were really limping on Saturday, especially when we got down to the last few loads, which are all garbage that you can’t bring yourself to throw away yet. I collected the last few miscellaneous items myself and basically crawled across the driveway and heaved the bags into the car from the ground. Fittingly, the last item I picked up was a catheter insertion kit.
There’s nothing quite like moving to really knock you down a peg. All of the ephemera that you occasionally use has been tucked away so nicely until you (and/or friends, if you’re lucky (and we were lucky)) drag it out into the light, dust and all, and schlepp it to a new location where it is dumped unceremoniously along the walls until you can find it within yourself to sort it into piles of “Sparks Joy” and “Why do I still have this shit?”
We have things that would make Marie Kondo cry. I was surprised at the sheer number of craft supplies that Alex and I still have from bygone days. Do you remember my handmade greeting card stage? Alex’s knitting obsession? Girl, bye. We don’t even have time to eat some days. If you think I’m gonna sit down and handcraft a birthday card or Alex is gonna plop himself on the couch and knit a pair of socks, you are smoking something.
The house is gorgeous- so pretty. We have a master bedroom where the little water closet for the toilet is literally bigger than the entire master bath at our old house (hint, hint: it’s not that big). I have a bathtub in the master, which has been a dream of mine since 2012. We have a guest bedroom and a fire pit. We really are excited for this new chapter.
Strangely, I’ve been having some anxiety about really small, seemingly insignificant pieces of furniture. You see, I am a Type A creature of habit. At our old house, I put into place, iron-clad systems of organization that helped keep us all together. Even though our new house is great and I was excited about it, I found myself having several anxiety-ridden conversations with Alex about our shoe bench.
When The Kid moved in, the number of shoes in our household went up exponentially. I was stressing about tripping over shoes and so I started what I like to call…The Hunt. I needed a perfect piece of furniture to put by our front door that would solve this shoe problem. After several weeks of obsessively scouring the internet for used pieces of furniture, I found it at a church garage sale. It was this beast of a bench with a little shelf for shoes and…it was $10. It fit perfectly where we needed it to. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Alex and I have a conversation at least once a month about how great that shoe bench is and how cheap it was. What value! What girth! I talk about my shoe bench the way most people talk about their boats.
When we were considering furniture placement in our new house, I found myself trying frantically to find a place for the shoe bench. How could we not bring that piece of furniture with us? It’s so handy! It was such a good price! I know it sounds dumb but I found myself worrying,
“But where will our shoes go?”
Change is hard, especially for an aggressive matriarch who runs a tight ship like myself. How funny that such a seemingly small issue could loom so large in my mind with a move on the horizon. I could have worried about any number of things, like the fact that we don’t have a bed or a dining room table. But I chose to focus on the very small routine of where we will put our shoes.
“But where will our shoes go?”
As I think about my faith deconstruction and this impending jump into the abyss of discomfort, isn’t it strange that I have similar thoughts? Like, believing or not believing in God doesn’t give me anxiety because I know that if God is real, God can handle me just chilling for a while. No, it’s more like, “How does prayer look like in this new normal?” or “What’s my new ethical center from which I make decisions?” To some, that might seem strange. Believing in God is such a big deal! Why are you worried about the spiritual discipline of fasting?
It is the spiritual equivalent of “But where will my shoes go?”
Over 30+ years of faith, I’ve developed religious rhythms and routines that brought me a certain level of comfort. And now, I’m standing on the precipice of something totally different and, strangely, my anxiety is focused on minute details like the role of liturgy in my life. If I’m completely deconstructed, how will I parent my kids to know how to be faithful?
I’m not wired for change. I like things to stay the same. I don’t like moving day or the couple days after. It feels weird. I have to open two doors to pee. I had to put my dish rack on the left instead of the right. It feels like I’m pretending to live in someone else’s house and I’ll get to go home to my real house soon.
But, in my head, I know that’s not the case. This is the new normal and while we got to keep the shoe bench (whew!), we have to sell the little hutch that held my cold weather scooter gear and the sunscreen. WHERE WILL THE SUNSCREEN GO? I have no shortage of things to be anxious about, my friends, but I know in my head that this move was good.
I’m really hoping that I’ll be the same in this total deconstruction. Of course, there will be things that give me anxiety or annoy me but I know that I’ll get used to it. Change is good. When we pull all of our junk out into the sunshine, we can see what we really want and what we really don’t want. We have to come face to face with things that we had forgotten about. I think I’m ready.
I’ve already survived one moving day.
I’m fairly certain I can survive another.
Is a golden gun.
It was not easy to hold it against my head
I needed great faith in my master
To suffocate myself
With his holy bag
Full of truth.
I needed real courage
To go out into the dark
Tracking God into the unknown
And not panic or get lost
In all the startling new scents, sounds, sights
Or lose my temper
Tripping on those scheming day and night around me
Effacement is the emerald dagger
You need to plunge
Deep into yourself upon
This path to divine
Upon this path
-Hafiz, Sufi poet from Persiain the 1300s