As many in the congregation know by now, my family and I moved to a new house in the first two weeks of April. It’s been a journey we’ve pondered for a while – downsizing to achieve a little more financial freedom from month to month, live in a space that is right for our family of three, and be able to accomplish some other long term goals like further training in spiritual direction for Karen. When we noticed a certain townhouse on the market last February we knew the time was right – even though it would mean moving during the busiest season of church life of the year (Lent and Easter)! Our townhouse is in the same beloved Glenbow neighbourhood that we’ve lived in these past 7+ years, and is surrounded by the natural beauty of a park. Every day from our window we see Big Hill Creek flowing past, watch squirrels chase each other up and down trees, and look at deer grazing along the path. East, south, and west light bathes our place at every hour. We couldn’t be happier with our new location.
All that said, it hasn’t been easy. Downsizing has meant a lot of letting go. Some of the letting go is relatively easy: that extra living room chair that no one ever sat in, redundant kitchenware, tools and hardware from the garage that I was never going to use. Some letting go involves a personal reckoning: coming to terms with the fact that I haven’t really used that treadmill or exercise bike in the basement for several years; turns out, they were just there to bolster a certain image of myself. Now there’s no space for them. Other letting go involves hard choices: like realizing there wouldn’t be space any more for my hobby of wine and beer making, or giving up the garden tools since there’s no space to store them and no garden to use them in anyway. Hardest of all the letting go is the passing on of sentimental and nostalgic items: the change table we used with our son when he was a baby, books that opened up new ideas at the time, childhood toys of Arik’s that have sat in our previously ample storage space for years – each object invoking precious memories.
Each letting go decision takes up a little bit of energy, and there are so many decisions to make that you soon feel exhausted. We’ve felt that way since February, yet still had to make the final push to empty the house by moving day, April 14. I was grateful to have a vacation during those last two weeks of the move.
Isn’t letting go what Lent and Easter are all about? We let go of the things that burden us in life, whether spiritual stumbling blocks to experiencing God’s grace or plain material things that distract us from the real abundant life God wants to give us. For me this season of moving has been teaching me to rely daily on God’s grace, and remember that even though all things in this world decay and pass away, I am still on my way to a permanent heavenly home.
This personal season of clearing out and letting go has also (I hope) made me more sensitive to what many in our congregation have gone through recently, are going through right now, or will be going through soon – downsizing, clearing out of homes sometimes lived in for many decades of family life. My heart is with you!
In the midst of all the changes and transitions of our lives, I hope we can continue to remind each other of what remains steady: God’s love, and our own love for each other.