Friday, October 21, 2011

Moving Grace

We have friends who moved to Washington this past summer. By the time we showed up at their place to help pack their moving truck, Angela had packed most of their possessions, printed clear labels for all the boxes (and even non-boxes!), and sorted them according to final destination. It was a wonder to behold.

I thought of that image this morning as I opened a box which still bears markings from our own move thirteen years ago. Our move from apartment to house happened very quickly. In fact, I think it was less than a month from when we started touring houses to the day we moved into one. It was also the first time we'd made a move like this, from one established home to another, as two functioning adults. In addition to being much less organized than our friends, we were also clearly inexperienced at such things.

We had scheduled the day and finalized arrangements on both ends of the move, then found the moving truck was available for just four hours, including an hour of driving time. Four hours! That's not much time. If we'd had everything boxed and organized and ready to go like Angela, it would have been difficult but maybe somewhere in the realm of possible.

But we didn't.

It would have been hopeless, except that we were part of a small group of young adults that met each week in the home of friends, and Kevin and Pat mobilized the group. That wonderful bunch of folks converged at our apartment.

My clearest memory of that crazy day was when Kevin and Pat showed up. Mis-matched boxes were piled somewhat randomly throughout the apartment. There were still sections of stuff not yet packed. The whole place was a picture of disorder. Pat looked around for a few moments, assessing the situation, then quietly took a deep breath and spoke. I don't remember what she said then, but I do remember clearly what she didn't say.
     She didn't say "Ugh."
     She didn't say "This is impossible."
     She didn't say "Why haven't you finished packing yet?"
Instead, her words communicated kindness and joy, choosing to offer grace by celebrating the occasion rather than focusing on the decidedly sub-optimal situation.

Several in the group started working together to move furniture. Others carried boxes and other smaller items. Some took on the cleaning as new areas of walls and floors were revealed in the process. We moved efficiently. We worked together. We talked through the process and made adjustments as needed. Amazingly, four hours later, all of our stuff was in our new home and the truck was back to the rental place on schedule. It was a wonder to behold.

That was a stressful day, and I'm pretty motivated to not move like that again. But I have good memories, too, of friends who showed up for us, who loved and accepted and celebrated with us. I am grateful for that day of grace.

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