Hurricanes and Mary Poppins

So we’re moving at the end of the week, and I’m a little in denial. My tomatoes are finally starting to turn orange. My pepper plants have decided to produce round two. The honeysuckle are coming back, and my Rose of Sharon are still wide open and buzzing along the side of our backyard. How can I be moving?

So-and-so in my congregation recently had surgery. Sister X is undergoing chemotherapy. Sister Y had a baby not long ago and still seems a little blue. Let’s take some meals/make a phone call/offer babysitting this week. Oh, and Sister A just moved in, so we should visit her –to get to know her and to help her feel welcome. Well, but I’m moving.

Next week, there’s an exhibit at the Rodin Museum, a restaurant on the boardwalk, a walk in the woods that desperately needs to be seen/visited/taken. Busy? No, but I won’t be here anymore.

We haven’t been in New Jersey very long– just barely two years– so it’s not like we’ve had time to put down roots. It’s not like this is our home we’re leaving. Except it is. My baby was born here. My husband almost died here. And here we have been so, so loved by people who served us without even knowing us. Here we were strangers, hungry, sick, thirsty– and had people there to aid us and teach us at every turn. If blood and tears and love don’t make a home, what does?

Having moved around so much, it can be easy to feel disconnected, alienated from community with others. It’s a temptation I work hard to resist. It’s much easier not to care when you know you’re going to leave soon. It’s much easier not to invest that emotional energy on things that are only temporary. But all of life is temporary. If you never bother to care, you never bother to live.

So I’m thinking about our short time in New Jersey, and all that we’ve done here, and I feel like we’ve just blown into town and are ready to blow out again. You know who does that? Mary Poppins. Literally. She comes and visits a family and fixes them, and then the wind changes and — toodle-oo! Of course, once she’s not needed anymore she goes. As I start to pull up my teeny roots here, I think, “No, I’m not really needed here anymore.” (And let’s be honest– I’m no Mary Poppins anyway.)

A more apt metaphor, I think, is the hurricane (or maybe a tornado). Our time here in New Jersey has been fairly disastrous, and I’d be lying if I said the unpleasantness of those experiences hasn’t colored my views of this place. So we came, bringing our own personal hurricane, and people stepped up to board up the windows, as it were, and clean up the debris afterwards. And now we’re taking our hurricane (maybe downgraded to a tropical depression now?) and heading back out to the sea.

Maybe this post is a little melodramatic. All I mean to say is, we’re moving and it feels like we can’t possibly be moving. Not really. And it seems like things have been hard for us for so long (but you know, not really that long, and not really that hard– it just feels that way), and this new place offers us some happiness and some peace, but I’m really hesitant to trust that. It’s just hard to imagine how our next place can become our home just as this place is our home now. On Saturday, we’re going to pile into our car and the moving van, and we’re going to drive away from our little yellow house and probably never see it again. And maybe we’ll get lucky, like Mary Poppins, and find a new people to love who need us (and how awesome is HER luggage?). Or maybe, like a hurricane, we’ll blow into Maryland and wreck stuff more and people will be there to put us back together again.

3 thoughts on “Hurricanes and Mary Poppins

  1. Moving is kind of the worst. I felt similarly about leaving Boston. Scratch that–I still feel that way about leaving Boston. I’m praying for the three of you that this transition is easier than you expect, and this place is better than the last.

  2. You know how I do love Mary, but as much as I fancy myself to be like her — practically perfect in every way — I find that it’s much more useful to have friends who will play (parts of) that role. Ones who will call me on the carpet when needed (“we are not a codfish”), make me clean up my messes (with a little help and song), and occasionally find fun games to play or fun adventures on which to embark. I have no doubt that fabulous friends will come because you are such a delightful friend to have. I pray that they come quickly.

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