Yesterday we took pictures and paintings and prints I love down off our walls.
At the end of next week, Chris and I will be headed to Quito for a week. We will be attending a regional retreat for the Covenant missionaries serving in Ecuador and Colombia, and will also take the opportunity to check out some of our school options for our kiddos and start to collect paperwork needed for our visa process. Also, it will give us an opportunity to start to move our life down there, one 50 pound suitcase at a time.
We are grateful for the staff here in Chicago from the Covenant World Mission office that have so generously offered to haul around extra luggage filled with legos and theology books through the airport and customs.
Wednesday was a tough one for me. I wandered around our house trying to find those things that I definitely want to have in Quito once we move but definitely won’t need in the next few months until we get there. Our apartment here in Chicago is the place that we have lived the longest since we got married. We have logged more nights of sleep and dinners around a table in this dinning room than anywhere else we have ever called home. With each item we pack, our home feels different and our physical space is beginning to echo back the change that is coming.
I have learned over these years that we have spent in Chicago that the physical space of my home is very important to me. This doesn’t mean that I need the newest or nicest. I love discovering treasures at the thrift store and the alleys in Chicago are a gold mine of great finds. It has been fun to piece together our apartment on a very limited budget and find creative ways to make our house a home.
So now I find myself in the midst of yet another tension (I am sensing a theme here) of letting go of those things that make me feel at home for the next few months so that I will have them in Quito once we move and make our home. Those things that will help me feel rooted. Those things that will echo back to me that Ecuador, in fact, is now home.
So, for now, I am trying to embrace my bare walls and empty bookshelves knowing that there is a home that will be awaiting me on the other side.
At the same time I recognize and struggle with the fact that we find ourselves in a tension that is filled with privilege and comes from abundance. We have choices. We have agency. We have options. The truth is that I live in a world where at this very moment there are millions of people around the globe who have been forced from their homes for one reason or another and face no hope of a home awaiting them on the other side. While I sift through 4 years of accumulation and make decisions about whether to take the Curious George book or the Little Critter one, there are parents taking only what they can carry and praying that their children do not die of exposure along the way. A dose of perspective and a reminder that these are the tensions that I am really called to live into. A call to not become distracted by the “pressing” questions in my reality, but to be always aware of the reality of others and continue to ask myself, “How then, shall I live?”