Roger Lovette writes about cultural concerns, healthy faith and matters of the heart.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Moving Is Still Not for Sissies
Strange Christmas. The lights are going on up and down our street. My neighbor has a huge Christmas wreath shining over his garage. Across the street the little girls are jumping up and down as they decorate the outside of their house with lights.
Finally tomorrow we will sit down in a lawyer's office and sign a multitude of papers, hand the new owner the keys and the garage door opener. We've left her a huge folder that explains who, what, where, when, why. And we are frantically trying to squeeze our Christmas wreaths into boxes, make sure our old artificial Christmas tree is ready to move.
Even in our desperation we had a moving sale yesterday and nobody bought our big pieces--but they walked away with our trinkets and little things that hardly matter. A rake, a leaf blower, a shrubbery cutter, some stakes for tomatoes, plastic bottles of sprays and garden supplies. They took away a lamp, some candlesticks and even a pair of crutches.
What they couldn't see or get are the memories this house we have lived in for thirteen years still hold in our hearts. The day the washing machine flooded the floor as guests from out of town were walking in the door. The upstairs attic that we turned into three wonderful rooms. That large upstairs corner, overlooking the garden where I have worked and prayed and thought. The dining room that we filled with food and laughter with family and friends. All the work we did on this house. The painting, the purchases--TV's and refrigerators--yes--more than one when the first died on us much too soon. The new stove and the garbage disposal and the dishwasher. A new roof and heating system. The day we stripped the wallpaper off the guest bathroom and re-did the whole thing for my wife's birthday. The day we left the faucet running in our bathroom and how it flooded everything and what a mess it was cleaning out and throwing away and mopping up. The wrinkle in the garage door when I slowly backed the car out and the door was still down. The two windows that would not close all the way and the time I spent running all over town looking for the tiny pieces to shut them tight.
But there are other memories. The camellias and gardenias that bloomed. The daffodils that always came up much too soon and promised us that spring really was on the way. The hydrangeas and the hostas we sprayed continually so that the five deer that occasionally wander into the yard would not completely devour. The daisies, white and wild yellow that spread all over the whole back yard. I will remember the kousa dogwood that blooms late and the phlox that come back bigger and heartier year after year.
But it's the people whose faces I will remember most. The kids across the street watching them run and laugh and play.The neighbor across the street who always came to my rescue when I need anything: a nail, nuts and bolts, a strong back to help me move something. Another neighbor that gave me pointers about the plumbing I could never understand and was always there to get the paper when we were gone and save up the mail and make sure the house was safe. My Hispanic friends who live down the street and have helped in more ways that I can remember. Their little boy looking up at me and saying "Senor," because he heard me address his father that way.
After the movers come Tuesday and all our peculiar treasures will disappear down the street. And I will walk, for a last time through every room. Remembering, just remembering. Two days later we will open the door to another house in another place--empty for the time being. But knowing full well this new place will hold new memories, reestablish old relationships, bring new friends and give us a chance, even in old age to start again.
And so we will unpack the Christmas wreaths and dig out the old artificial seven foot tree and begin to put things in place. It will never be like it was. But it will be another chapter filled with new memories and another chance to begin yet again.