This is packing week.
It's loomed on my calendar for awhile, and now it's on me.
I've done this all my life. Part of being an itinerant family is knowing there are seasons that come and go, and moving is always lurking out there.
Granted, this year, the only person in my family really concerned about the physicality of moving is me.
We don't have to change homes. I'm changing offices and locales of the work place.
(Oh, family o' mine, you're welcome).
And yet, it tasks me.
Packing boxes, no problem. That's no big deal.
Being married into a family whose business is books, boxes are no worry.
I have over 20 boxes of books packed. I've read some of most of them and all of some.
The part that grabs me is packing the stuff in my space that makes it more than a library, even more than a study, it's the stuff that makes the space mine.
It's touching the artwork, the stained glass, the mementos, tokens and talismen that make that space sanctuary for me, as well as for those who join with me in that space to be counselled, to chat, or to confer.
Each has a story. Each story of someone I've known, loved, served or studied with who made it or bought it and gave it to me as sign of our relationship, or as a reflection of what they thought of me.
So, I have Mom's stained glass.
A clay turtle given to me by Courtney and Jessica from Asbury
An earthenware bowl given to me by Carole Ann from Asbury
Lori's painting from Asbury
Jamie's artwork of Micah 6 from St. J
Collins' sketches from St. J
A plaque from the Healing Connection from Asbury
TC's Cross from St. J.
Carmen's Madonna and child from my D. Min group
Barbara's Angel from Bishop's office
John's stone cross from Bemis
JB's picture of NOLA from St. J
Earthenware collected over the years
The little preacher gifted from my first girlfriend.
My Dulcimer made for my 30th B'day and gifted by the Roatens from Asbury
Artwork of my kids
Pictures and artwork of churches I've served.
Pictures of Glad River from our beginnings
A photo album of my youth group at Whitehaven UMC back in 1983.
Letters, photos and cards from members past and present.
And more, and more - it goes on and on.
I look at pictures of me from back then and think, "Man, I'm getting old."
I'm packing not only the stuff that makes ministry work for me in a given space, I'm also repacking stuff of my past in other places at other times and remembering people I loved and served for so many years.
And through the melancholy of goodbye I reflect with gladness on lives and places I loved in my life knowing that this place has given me memories aplenty to reflect upon.
So, I'll go to my new space. There'll be some shakedown time to make it mine. I'll have to bring in my staff of interior designers (Kristy and her mom), and it'll be my space in short order.
Anybody who knows me knows that I must have a space. My place - to study, to be, to write, to listen to music (often too loud), to invite in those who need a safe place to sit and ponder with me the questions of faith that preoccupy.
My new friends will have to get used to overhead fluorescent lights that will never be on. Natural light from the window and the soft light from Papaw's lamp will fill the room.
A life of memories boxed and ready for transport. True enough,there's quite a few more boxes going with me than came when I first arrived.
Memories do that, don't they? Accumulate?
Time to turn the page.