What do you take with you?

Moving This is a time of transition for many in my closest circle of family and friends. We have young adults that were just children a blink ago now graduating from high school and heading off to college. Others are planning weddings and baby showers. My own grand-girl is moving into high school. My daughter is looking to move into a house more suited to her growing family.  And those are just a few.

Transition. Even when it’s organic or by choice, it’s still a time of change and can be bittersweet; especially when it involves that place we call home.

My first home on my own was a small frame house in Grand Rapids, Michigan that I shared with a friend. It was in the early 1970’s and we were college students, heady with that first taste of independence. The house was on Walnut Street. I still remember how “grownup” we felt having our own place to live.

But all these years later, other than a few books and photographs, only memories remain of that time and place.

Over the years, there would be other homes in other cities. I would share those places and spaces with other people or live alone. Books and photographs continued to travel with me. At some point in my life, other things began to also make the sojourn to the next address.  Artwork, collectibles, even a few furniture pieces have been with me now for many decades. They stay with me because they have come to represent a part of my life in a meaningful way.

Recently I chronicled all of the places I have called home. While I have clear memories of some of them, it’s a bit sketchy for others. I was somewhat surprised to realize how many addresses there have been over the past 60 years that at some point had my name attached to them. Each of them is part of the imprint of my life. When thinking about this, here is what I know to be true: every time I have moved I have in reality also left parts of my life behind and carried parts with me.

If you have ever gone through a move you will understand this. There is no better time to streamline than when you move.  We toss things, give them away, perhaps even have a garage sale or two and recycle! Some things we carry with us out of need but will later replace with something more suited to our new home. The rest continues on and is put in a new place where we can see it in a new light even as we remember its former glow.

This is how I am beginning to understand life overall. With each time and season of my life I feel the call to let parts of the old season remain where they are. There is no need to carry them forward. Even who I serve and how I serve them. Going into my new (next) means leaving some of my past (now) behind. It also means taking some things with me, even if only for awhile. And it means some things will remain. I find that very comforting and hopeful all at the same time. Every time and season has its purpose.  And another season always follows. What genius God displays in giving us this gift of life to experience as we grow and change.

If you are coming into one of those time junctures in your life, even if the biggest change is for someone else, it is a perfect opportunity to think about this for yourself. What will stay behind? What will remain? Good questions for all of us always. Even day by day.

Choose today what you want tomorrow to be.

Keep that. Live that. Live well.


  1. This touched me because my story is so very similar. The people who have come in and out of my life all over the world contribute to the person I have become. Transition causes us to be like water, we do find our level and before we know it… It is time for yet another change. The constant in our life is change!

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