I woke this morning to a living room I did not recognize. It was a skeleton of what I had grown accustomed to. Nothing was as it should be, nothing was where it should have been. Everything about our living room in the brightness of the morning was different, and it took me a few minutes to grow accustomed to it.
We are moving. And everything is changing.
In two days we will start the first of three full days of driving ourselves, our dog, our cars, and all of our belongings across the country to a new town that will be home for this next season of life. The last few days have consisted of packing final items into boxes, pulling relentlessly at roll after roll of tape, saving scraps of bubble wrap and packing paper from shipments, unpacking boxes for needed items packed prematurely, and then boxing it all up again.
The funny thing about packing is that in a matter of minutes (more realistically, hours) you can transform a space that is both a sanctuary and sacred ground into a place you hardly recognize. Yesterday, after a few hours of removing art from the walls, packing throw pillows, and neatly wrapping up lamps in paper, I turned around and realized that the place that has been home for almost three years was now not much more than a standard, cookie-cutter condo. For months we worked and planned and decorated this space in an effort to make this house a home, and in a fraction of that time I made that home a house again. I undressed it from all familiarity, wiped the built-in shelves where all our favorite books lived, and reflected on a space that, from the other side of packing, now seems so temporary. Though it was a staple in our every-day, the pending landlord inspection now renders it hollow and inhospitable.
Moves in my life have never been small. Only once have I made a short-distance move in which I moved to a town 20 minutes away. All others have been across multiples states and into a drastically different season of life. It’s in my nature to grow quickly and deeply attached to the places I live. Each apartment – from my 320 square foot studio in Chicago to our top floor condo with a view of the Colorado foothills – has looked like me, felt like me, and smelled like me as it worked its way into my heart. This morning, as we prepare to move yet again across the country I am comforted by the reality of the coming Kingdom of God. One day, I am reminded and consoled, our God will return to this earth, and establish His Kingdom – and our Home – forever. It will never end. It will never fail. We will never have to pull up out roots again. We will settle in with a sigh and without a the smallest bit of apprehension about fully embracing the space for fear we will have to say good-bye. No, there will be no good-byes. Just goodness.
In the meantime, we’re just pulling up tent pegs. We’re moving from semi-home to semi-home, from little-picture of the Kingdom to little-picture of the Kingdom. We move from space to space digging our tent pegs as deep in the earth as we can – and it is good and glorious even – only to realize that they are, ultimately and disappointingly, still temporary. Every home we have this side of our true Home will be temporary, but it will remind us each and every day: the Kingdom is coming, and so is the King.