I hate moving house. But this fact doesn't make me special, different or even interesting. In fact, if you consider that moving house is ranked in the top 10 of the most stressful things that can happen in life, my dislike for it makes me a reasonably average person.
Moving house is a life-changing process that turns otherwise average people into crazed cardboard box hunters and fierce defenders of their hired mini-skip. Seriously though, who really wants to come face to face with the contents of their spare room or garage?
These strangleholds of the average home are often filled with borrowed books or power tools that you forgot to return; dusty exercise equipment reminding you of your failed plans to get fit; boxes of unsorted photos that you were going to scrapbook years ago; jars of nails and screws; gifts you politely received and never had the heart to throw out; and camping gear you wish you had the time to use. Packing is a logistical and emotional nightmare, until you arrive at your new home when all your fears are confirmed and you realise unpacking is definitely worse.
If you didn't have time to cull unwanted junk before the move, this is the time when you open a box and you're greeted by those hideous orange and brown mela?mine plates that used to hide at the back of the garage cupboard and you ask yourself, “Why did we pack these?”
Unpacking those last few boxes may be a walk in the park for some, taking a day or a week to complete. For others the task is arduous, with many putting it off for a decade or so. Having only recently unpacked the last box from our “big move” 12 months ago places us somewhere between those extremes. Even so, a year is still a long time.
Fortunately, we had streamlined our possessions considerably before we moved, but there were still a few boxes taunting us from the spare room cupboard. Then one unremarkable Sunday recently my husband and I decided that it was time to do something about it. Sitting on the spare room floor we happily (and sometimes not so happily) sorted through the last few boxes, wilfully throwing away old papers and junky bits and pieces that accumulate over time. We both felt the weight lifted off our shoulders with each bag of rubbish thrown away.
Every piece of paper, every book, every photo and every trinket was a reminder of things left behind and what life used to be. Reminiscing is always a bittersweet pastime and this was true for me when I found treasured items like old work diaries, a photo from a friend's baby shower, old wedding invitations and a letter from my sister. For a brief moment I wondered what life would have been like if we hadn't moved, but I did not dare think too long about it for fear that I might feel regret.
Perhaps this is why some people don't fully unpack those last few boxes for years—sometimes it is too hard to let go, sometimes it is too painful to bring up old memories and sometimes it is too confronting to accept your new life. It was late in the evening when the last document was filed and the final rubbish bag taken to the bin room. Everything was in its place and the only thing left was a thrilling sense of accomplishment. As I admired my new-found carpet I hoped I wouldn't have to do this again for a while.
There is, however, one move that I am looking forward to—moving back home to live with my Father in heaven. I won't have to pack any boxes or suitcases because He's taking care of all the arrangements. I won't even have to worry about getting the post office to forward my mail. He is going to provide everything I need so that I can leave it all behind—including the contents of my spare room. Imagine that!