05 January, 2019

My perspective, from a spare bedroom

It's just over a week since I last wrote and I've had a real desire to write today, aided by a quieter day. We only got back on Tuesday from our 2,000km tour round Queensland visiting family. We didn't think that it would be too much hard work to pack up our house and we were right, but there was always a bit of uncertainty because we only had three nights.
This was a quiet farewell. It's possible that, before we
return to Australia again my parents will sell the house
that they've been in the last 30 years.
I only lived there for two years, but it's been something of
a "home base" for me since I left home at 17. Certainly
one of the few places that our boys have had as a
constant in their lives. This piano I spent hours at
as a teenager, with my photo on the top. The piano
will move with my parents, of that I have no doubt,
but the house will be missed by us all.

Today was supposed to be move-it-all-out day, but we had practically everything out of the house by 10am. Most of the furniture we were using was donated to the Salvation Army yesterday, a few pieces went back to their owners, and our bedroom suite went back to my parents via a friend. The rest of our stuff fitted into two trailers and the backs of a station wagon and 4WD this morning, destined for storage our shipping container.

Yesterday afternoon we removed from our house about 150kg of luggage in around a dozen suitcases. This is the stuff, mostly clothing and other personal items, that we will take back to us to Japan.

So, now we sit in no-mans-land. In a spare bedroom, waiting four more nights until we fly to Japan. In the next four days we have less to do, but perhaps more to "be". We've got the time to spend with some close friends and some last-minute catch-ups. That includes our farewell at our home church tomorrow. Hopefully, Tuesday, our last full day in Australia, will be just a rest day.

In the midst of all the busyness we have much to be thankful for. Here are some:
  • we're experienced at these international moves: this is our ninth move between countries
  • a marriage where we understand each other's gifts: a husband who is gifted with a 3D tetris super-power and loves the challenge of packing and a wife who is gifted at networking and communicating (both of which are helpful gifts when doing a move like this)
  • many friends who offer to help
  • an unlikely meal with two families who are dear friends, one of whom is also doing a big move this weekend
  • last time we left Australia we trimmed down our possessions, so it's been easier to move this time
  • people who love us on both sides of the ocean
  • boys who are happy to go back to Japan
Some specifics helps that we've received or will receive:
  • someone who is selling our son's school uniforms on our behalf
  • people who've lent time and their vehicles and trailers to move our stuff
  • accommodation and meals over this weekend that we're still local, but not at home
  • a friend who organised a reunion/farewell party tomorrow afternoon, just to get to see us
  • someone to return our borrowed Australian-van to its owner
  • colleagues who drove our "new" van in Tokyo from Yokohama to our house in Western Tokyo (probably a two-hour drive), then rearranged the bikes in our narrow carport so that they could squeeze the van into the space and caught trains home
  • friends who will store precious photos and other goods on their property
  • a colleague stocking our fridge and cupboards in Tokyo, and also check that our beds have sheets and blankets on them
  • a friend who will pick us up from the train in Tokyo
  • a family who will feed us in their home for our first dinner in Tokyo
So many friends. So much help. So thankful.

Sometimes I think that our job is to get out of the way and allow others the opportunity to serve.

I wasn't particularly well yesterday, but today am okay. At these times of transition I find that I have to expect that there are more waves than usual (both physical and emotional), and that I have to do what I can to ride them out. Emotions are always mixed. Farewells are never fun, but I know that most of them are temporary—most of these people I'll see again. I also know that Japan awaits. One of the most encouraging things about the list above are the people who are waiting for us on the other side of this move. That's a balm to the never-healing wound that these moves always tear away at.

In the end, though, the Lord is my rock. Like King David, I've set my eyes on God:

"I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken" (Ps. 16:8 ESV).

I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Ps. 18:1-2 ESV)

No comments: