Consider this statistic: This week I will move for the third time in three years, and the fourth move in the last five years.
Consider this fact: I'm not getting any better at it.
Now, there are a few facets that seem to go more smoothly. We know how to best back and wrap certain things. We know how to route a way to our destination that avoids the worst traffic patterns. We even know how to better let go of stuff that we don't need.
What is not getting any better is how I feel when I leave. I'm constantly torn between the incredible excitement and profound sadness.
I'm excited because I love the possible. The future place, the people we will live with and serve, a new home and new ministry, this all inspires within me joy.
I'm sad because I know the goodness of this place, the love of these people, the blessings of the home we've built here and the value of the ministries to which God called us. There is grief involved with leaving the good we know.
Moving forces us into these situations where mourning and delight come crashing together.
Perhaps what I need is to find a place where this collision creates something more, something like gratitude.
Gratitude gives thanks for what is and what is to come. Gratitude looks back to previous situations of mourning and finds the joy borne out of those centrifugal experiences. Gratitude fosters perspective as it knows that the good of the past need not taint the move toward the future, and the good of the future need not taint the memory of the past.
My prayer for all of us who are on journeys, whether across state lines or on the paths of our own lives, might find gratitude between the mourning and the anticipation, that we give thanks for where we have been and where we are going. Such a thing doesn't simply come from an attitude adjustment, but from the perspective of a God who journeyed to earth from heaven, then to a cross and even to hell, all in order to give goodness to the pilgrimages we walk. So my prayer is that God gives us gratitude, that Christ fosters that perspective within us through the Holy Spirit, who connects the past and the future in this ever-present moment of gratitude.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.