Ohio weather. Address and job. Faces at our table. My attitude. In the midst of big changes for our family, I found myself shopping for flip-flops during a March snow squall. Funny how excited I felt during the outing when only a day earlier my attitude had been negative, feeling like another burden had fallen on me, like preparing for anything other than our son’s move back home was the last thing I needed.
While this Season of Changes affects us all, Kyle is experiencing the most turmoil. After spending two and a half years living and working in Columbus, he has sensed a need for change, resigned from his position with Kroger and accepted a graphic design job with our local newspaper company. That change necessitates a move from his Westerville apartment back into our home.
Preparing the basement. In addition to Kyle’s basement bedroom, the storage area downstairs needed to be cleaned and organized. Having the moving deadline before us provided motivation for a project often put off, put off because its hard, physically hard. Rearranging boxes and pieces of exercise equipment reminds me that I don’t normally exercise that strenuously.
Space to store furniture, washer, and dryer.
Moving his stuff. We love the hauling capacity of our Subaru Outbacks. During this season of change of address, Kyle has folded his seats down and filled his car for one trip from Columbus, and we have done the same with ours twice. Tomorrow will be the final moving day, complete with a rental truck.
Cleaning the apartment. We did spend our 34th anniversary weekend at Kyle’s apartment, packing up dishes and food, cleaning appliances and cupboards, scrubbing the shower, gladly helping him with a process that is nothing less than physical to the point of exhausting. Tomorrow we’ll be glad the kitchen and shower are already clean as we attempt to restore the apartment to pre-move-in condition.
Combining households: Each time Dave and I have driven our Outback full of boxes home, we have carried them just inside the kitchen door and set them down, letting them rest on the floor while we rest overnight, moving or unpacking them the next day. The frozen and refrigerated food was put away last Saturday night. On Sunday afternoon, I mustered enough energy to put away the pantry items. Sunday was a tough day for me.
For Kyle. Regardless of what a person is moving toward, leaving behind what has been home, an apartment, a workplace, a church, friends, is sad. And in the season of transition, moods can fluctuate as quickly and drastically as Ohio’s weather in March, now sunny, now full of clouds, now snowing so hard one can barely see where he’s going.
For me. Dave and I happily welcome Kyle back to our area, our home, our dining room table. Since he arrived on Monday, we have talked face-to-face, hugged, watched funny videos together, prayed, taken turns preparing dinner, slept. Still, this season of change has come about rather suddenly for all of us. It requires little adjustments, working out bathroom schedules in the morning, letting each other know where we’re going, finding the best ways to support each other through listening, encouragement, praying. Its good, necessary, and sometimes emotional to the point of exhaustion.
My attitude change.
On Tuesday morning, Kyle headed off to his first day at the new job, not at all sure that he wouldn’t rather be going to his old familiar job. Dave took a packed bag with him to work, needing to drive to Virginia that evening, work at newspaper locations there, and return home on Thursday night. I went to church for Tuesday morning Bible study, getting there first to make the coffee, not expecting to have my Outback filled with cargo to unload when I got home. Other women began arriving, each carrying a bag stuffed with a variety of items, items I had invited them to bring in during our last meeting, donations of health and beauty products, journals, and flip-flops to be transported to Haiti, gifts of love to moms in that impoverished country.
- I was overwhelmed by the generous response to Imagine Missions‘ request for supplies, the type of items that we enjoy in such great abundance, little things that will be treasured by recipients and shared within their community.
- I was overwhelmed by the task I faced, taking home the many bags, some heavy with bottles of lotion and shampoo, to carry into my house, not sure of when or where they would need to go next. With some help from my friends, the Outback was loaded. I drove home feeling sorry for myself, physically and emotionally exhausted, grumpy about the stuff. I brought the bags from the garage into the kitchen and filled the same space we had stored boxes in overnight.
My attitude change came gradually, after prayer, after encouraging phone calls, after sitting on the floor sorting the contents of the bags, after an excited response from Becky Massey who will transport our gifts to Haiti and hand them out to the women, after a good night’s sleep.
Love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:31
On Wednesday morning, Kyle headed to work for his second day on the job. I grabbed a cup of coffee and my Bible and spent time talking with God. I told Him how I was feeling, still a bit overwhelmed by the stuff in my house that demanded my attention and energy, not very excited about preparing for and leading our Ladies Luncheon next Tuesday. Then, as I moved through the steps of finalizing plans for that event, the Holy Spirit made a suggestion, leading me like a shepherd to an idea, an idea that energized me for the work. Rather than present our gifts in a lump sum to Becky before her journey, we will fill large Ziploc bags for individual women during our luncheon. I saw the donations with fresh eyes and felt determined to give myself physically and emotionally to this mission project.
We needed more flip-flops.
On Wednesday afternoon, I went shopping, determined to find two-gallon Ziploc bags and inexpensive flip-flops. The task was no longer a burden, but a joy. Success came at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. With the Spirit’s help (I asked for it), I spotted boxes of the hard-to-find extra large bags on a top shelf. Then, amidst the clearanced winter hats and gloves, I found some pretty flip-flops at a great price. Driving home, I felt exhilarated, both by the shopping success and the cold afternoon air that suddenly filled with quarter-sized snowflakes, a snowy squall that minutes later gave way to sunshine.
On Thursday morning, with Kyle into his third day of work and Dave coming home in the evening, I organized our donations for a bag-filling assembly line. As I counted the items, I was overcome with the realization that as each lady decided what to purchase and bring in, choosing from a provided list, but given freedom to bring in any number and choice of items, we had collected 20-25 of each needed thing (except flip-flops). I was overwhelmed with a sense of Wonder, knowing that God is working through Imagine Missions, through Becky Massey, through our Bible study group, through ME, to provide for women in Haiti. Yes, it takes energy. But, with the help of the Holy Spirit, what felt like “the last thing that I needed” became just what I needed during this Season of Changes.
I spotted our annual migrating Flickers in this morning’s snow.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul. Psalm 23:1-3