I have neither the skill nor the time to write an entire history of these past few weeks, but I can focus on a few highlights which must not be forgotten.
Untangling our lives from seven years of living in a house which we had assumed would be our home for far longer than that took much prayer, some tears, and many helping hands. The anticipation and “planning”, such as it was, had taken all summer. The packing began in earnest only weeks before the actual move. Having a giant purge and “yard sale” at the beginning of the summer helped, but there was still so much left that we needed to keep.
The books on the shelves were easy to pack. Within a couple of weeks my entire library was in liquor boxes and stacked under the dining room table. Kate and Erin had driven around to several liquor stores in the area and acquired enough boxes to contain our books.
The rest of our household would need larger boxes, and a plea for boxes on Facebook was generously answered by everyone from A Running Start,(my running store) Mary, (a running friend) Hope, (and other church friends) Deb, (a homeschool friend who works at Walmart) acquaintances, and at the last minute, a carload of paper boxes from Joe, (a friend who was helping us to load the truck).
Paper for wrapping breakable things came from Hope, (a friend who had recently moved) and she brought paper, bubble wrap, and boxes as she emptied them. We also learned that the local newspaper gave away the ends of the rolls of newsprint after printing the paper each day. We only needed to call to see if they had any available and go pick them up and we had unprinted newspaper for wrapping our breakables!
Through these means we didn't need to purchase a single box or sheet of paper, and we had exactly enough for everything. Exactly enough.
Filling all these boxes took an army of helpers, and we were so blessed to have friends volunteering to come each day in increasing numbers as our moving day drew near. By the time loading day arrived our entire library and kitchen, all of the pictures from the walls and knick-knacks from downstairs, linens and towels, and a couple of the kids’ rooms were entirely packed. Having Joan, Lorraine, Sharon, Nada, Wanita, Jodi, Mya, Amy, and Amanda, come to help was a multi-faceted blessing: we spent precious time together, they kept me motivated, and we made some unique memories as we wrapped and packed.
Yet still, loading day arrived with much left to finish.
For our final week in Pennsylvania we had been fed and housed by others as our means for doing so in our home was packed away. On loading day I arrived at the house bright and early while Nathaniel and Jim went to pick up the rental truck. John and Annie walked in ready to work and many others began arriving and soon everyone pitched right in with packing the last items into boxes, unhooking our laundry machines, and carrying furniture, other large items, and packed boxes out to the driveway to stage them for loading.
In the days leading up to loading day we realized that all of our belongings were not going to fit in the truck we had rented, even though we got the biggest truck they offered. So Dave brought his own large truck in order to haul chosen items to a storage unit. At some point, maybe Christmastime, we will be able to get the rest of our stuff down to Texas. But at the moment we were adding another decision to every item loaded. It all had to go somewhere, but choosing into which truck to load each item added to the circus atmosphere.
As the army of volunteers emptied the house and loaded the trucks Wanita was cleaning up the rooms as they became available. Everyone had a welcome break at midday as Joan provided a bountiful lunch for the whole gang, complete with the tables to serve it on and picnic blankets for us to all sit as we enjoyed our break.
Have I mentioned that the day was perfect? That the weather cooperated beautifully with clear skies and a cool breeze? That the forecast had threatened rain and bluster?
In short: from beginning to end, this whole, overwhelming process was orchestrated by the Lord. He provided everything: from the truck, to the packing materials, to the coordination of more than I could grasp, to a multitude of helpers, to meals and beds, right down to the perfect weather in which to load the trucks.
I am still in awe of all that happened over all those weeks of preparing and finally actually moving. I know that I was not capable of the managing it myself, and even though my head was throbbing most days, the goodness of God in sending such dear, blessed friends to help carry the load and even think for me some days shines through so clearly. While we were in the midst of it the task seemed never-ending. Now, in retrospect, the pain and confusion and headaches are all fading into a mist and only the laughter and smiles and sacrificial service remains.
“The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.” Psalm 126: 3