Every day something else comes off a wall. Or out of a cabinet. Or it moves from a shelf to a pile. There are piles all over my house. I’ve taken over the living room. Open suitcases on the floor, stacks of “keep if I can”, “definitely keep”, and “oh my Lord, can I even do this” create a chaos that my gracious roommate doesn’t ask about. I’ve pared down my art supplies significantly, but there’s still more. And there is a short list of sewing projects to facilitate organization (i.e. zipper pouches and organizer rolls) with materials pulled aside. My “give” pile is a globular mass, and there is a bag of dishes in my car in case I see that one friend sometime soon.
My to-do list is 30+ items long, and it is mostly centered on logistics: change name on bills; change address; ensure insurance coverage continues; buy cornbread mix and hot sauce and fajita seasoning; figure out the phone.
I have a visceral reaction when someone suggests adding something to my off-work hours. Birthday parties, goodbye parties, and baby showers are all booked. Six weeks from today I will be well over jet lag.
And my day-to-day looks like this: coffee or tea and a quick minute to read the chapters in my daily Bible reading plan; schlep 2-3 bags to the car, ranging in content from “something special” to create with my charges to clothing to change into after the baby is done gnawing on my straps; drive; work; come home; eat; numb my mind on Tumblr or Facebook or Pinterest; move a few objects from where they’ve been to a pile; think about what little detail I could get done; sleep.
And in that drive, the real exhaustion sets in. It is the time where I go on autopilot, and I am completely alone but with nothing else to occupy my time. That is where the burden lays on thick. The plans are run through with a fine tooth comb. Short term memory strives to commit ideas to long term memory but is running on a deficit.
Although this move is motivated from my heart and spirit, the majority of my preparation has been cognitively-driven, and I am overwhelmed. But my heart is also going through convulsions. The evidence is in how easily I bawl through a Disney movie, or those sudden splurts of fond memory, accompanied with the knowledge that distance will soon preclude the creation of new such joys. To let the emotion have expression entails an expense of energy that I don’t seem to have available.
And I call this stress.
But today, something switched.
In a rare moment of an afternoon off, I was reading my daily Bible, but honestly just when commercials came on as I streamed a cooking show. Nevertheless, a thought occurred: what if I chose to be excited about all these little details that have been weighing me down? What if, instead of letting anxiety accumulate, I could see each bit of the minutiae of this transition as a joy?
Because the reality is this: I am preparing for a life-changing adventure I could not have anticipated, I could not have planned, I could not have orchestrated, I could not have imagined. 30 March 2013 had me believing my heart could never be content anywhere but Tennessee.
And then everything changed. I have been homesick since leaving England. I have lived for three months knowing I was to return but having no solid plans. Now I have a home to move to and meaningful occupation awaiting me. And my sobs and bawling for my position to be in place have been exchanged for tears of anticipation and the joy of knowing I will see certain ones again.
So this is my conclusion. I have believed a lie that an inter-continental move must be stressful. But the truth is that I can choose.
So I choose, starting today, to submit these anxious thoughts, plans, and ponderings to a spirit of thankfulness and joy. Not that I am “naming and claiming”, because my struggle has not been one of faithlessness in God’s ability to provide and see it through, but I have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of details requiring attention. So I choose to remember that just a few short weeks ago I was longing to be released to make preparations. And I choose to remember that each detail is part of the working of a dream-come-true that is this adventure.
I get to love you through/ Whatever comes/ What a privilege
I get to love you through/ Whatever comes/ Oh how sweet it is
Nothing’s going to take your praise out of my mouth
As long as I shall live/ As long as I shall live
‘Cause He’s a great God
–Kristine Mueller-DiMarco, “Praise the Lord”