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A temporary life

At this exact time last year I was packing up an entire house in order to move, a decision forced upon us for which we were unprepared.  It was a hectic, pressure-filled week and I don’t remember ever having worked so hard.  We chose a new residence that we knew would be temporary, unsure of exactly how long we would remain.  And now it’s time to move again.  Tomorrow I will be in search of boxes to pack the few things here and I’m completely excited that the vast majority of our belongings are sitting in storage in already packed, labeled boxes just waiting to be moved to their new home.  This will be by far the easiest move I have ever made and there have been quite a few of them. To the best of my recollection, this will be #28.

I made a list this morning of all the places that I can remember having lived.  This revealed an interesting range of habitats:  small houses, large houses, a nice mobile home and an awful, old mobile home, really nice apartments and a not-so-nice one, and a room in the back of my workplace that was no wider than my queen size bed where I lived quite happily for one year.  Ten years was the longest period spent in one place.  As a child, I don’t remember having an opinion about our moves one way or the other; I suppose I thought that every family moved quite often.  As a teenager it began to be more important to me and I remember crying when the announcement was made that we would be moving out of our five bedroom home into a three bedroom mobile home.  My tears were not prompted by the idea of a mobile home but rather the fact that I would have to give up a room to myself and once again share a room with my little sister.  (Sorry, Sis…)

We’ve often joked in our family that we surely have gypsy blood.  I suppose some may think the many moves would have formed deep insecurities for us as children, when in fact they prepared us for adventures in this life.  They kept us from holding on too tightly and attaching our security to “things”.  For me, change has always come with hope – an expectation of good things for the future (with the exception of the aforementioned room-sharing transition.)  Some of the moves were simply changes in geography with no other effects on my life.  Others brought new friends and experiences and fresh, new perspectives on love and life and God.

This is a temporary life.  In the big scheme of eternity it is a wisp, a vapor.  Yet it is significant in this grand plan and we are innately programmed to make something of it.  Our lives are wisps of time that each have God’s full attention.  Without this knowledge we spin our wheels in futility and struggle to hold on to what will not last.  We endeavor to build secure lives that will protect us from the difficult, the unexpected, the unplanned, when the reality is that none of us know what will happen tomorrow.  Without knowing that God sees us and is ever ready to lead, guide, love, and help, we crumble when life deals a hard blow.  We have no real hope without Him.

I am excited about our move.  It will be the nicest house I have ever lived in and my mind has already filled its rooms with our things even though the movers won’t be there until Saturday.  It’s a lovely house in a nice neighborhood and I will be happy there.  Not because of the house, although having a pretty place to live certainly doesn’t hurt!  But because I know that I will hold it loosely.  I will enjoy this season God is leading us into, fully assured that He is with me and that He will make something significant of my life no matter where He places me.

Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city and spend a year there and carry on our business and make money.  Yet you do not know the least thing about what may happen tomorrow.  What is the nature of your life?  You are really but a wisp of vapor that is visible for a little while and then disappears into thin air.   You ought instead to say, If the Lord is willing, we shall live and we shall do this or that.  James 4:13-15

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