23 addresses in 23 years… I just checked our address book for our old places of residence. That’s how many times Barb and I have moved in our married life (Yeah, that’s a LOT of moves!)
Why?? I knew you were going to ask that. My best answer is… I don’t know. Actually, there are about as many answers as there are addresses. Sometimes we really felt God leading us to do it (even though we didn’t have any concrete evidence of what awaited us at the other end). Sometimes it was financial (our rent was being raised to the point that a move to a cheaper place made the best sense). Sometimes it was the obligation to family (like when Barb’s Dad was dying a slow death from COPD, we felt the need to be near to help Mom out).
We felt a little bit of kinship to the Israelites in the book of Numbers. Except, we didn’t have a cloud to follow or manna delivered to our tent front every morning. We did learn a lot of lessons from such a nomadic life, lessons that we could have only learned this way.
One of those lessons was to travel light. Only once did we rent a moving truck to move all our stuff… only once. We were tired of having to replace everything we sold at a moving sale with money that was in short supply. I do still drive a 3/4 ton cargo van to work every day just in case we feel the call again (except I think we’ve found where God wants us now). Books are one those things you need to be careful with. They don’t take up much space, but they add up to a lot of weight in a hurry. One book I insisted we keep is Improving Your Serve by Chuck Swindoll. That’s one I pull out and re-read every ten years; that’s how much it impacted me the first time I read it.
People are something that takes a bit of time to know. We met some very nice people in a depth that a vacation doesn’t allow. I have met some who will make some interesting characters in some future books. Their outlooks on life are sometimes in contrast to mine, that has broadened my horizon in how I look at life. For example, cancer survivors have some of the most down to earth mentalities of anybody I ever met. War veterans have another plane of thinking that’s worth learning about. Facing death head on will do that to you. Some people move toward God in a crisis, others away (I’m drawn to the ones that gravitate to their maker).
Holding things loosely is another lesson. My nearly five-pound bass that I caught was mounted to display, it made it through a few moves (we sold that for about $15). Saying ‘good bye’ to the farm was a huge undertaking on our first out-of-state move. I told you I had an urge to take it over after my Dad died; when that time came I knew that wasn’t God’s plan for me. We usually had two cats during most of those 23 years, sometimes their health concerns were untimely in our moves (It’s crazy how an animal can attach its self to your heart like that).
We often used a combination of Gideon’s fleece and open/closed doors to see where God wanted us. The few times we actually ‘owned’ our place of residence we would put it on the market to see if it would sell, if not, then we’d stay. Sierra Vista, Arizona was one place we could have stayed… our place sold the last month it was listed. Our Galesburg, Michigan house didn’t sell the first summer we listed it (even after my bout with depression the previous winter) it did sell the second summer we listed it (after Barb’s episode with winter depression).
Weather extremes often followed us (especially snow). When we lived in Honor, Michigan they received a record amount of snowfall (and northwest Michigan known for a lot of snow). I shoveled a pile as big as my full-grown van next to our driveway by the end of the season. When we woke up on Christmas Day in Harlingen (in deep south Texas) we found about six inches of icy snow on the ground, it was the first time in over 90 years they received any snow; it shattered all records for amount. I took pictures of the snow on palm trees (not everybody has that opportunity). I also found some snow castles (I guess the people there thought this was cold white sand… they knew what to do with sand, snowmen were a foreign concept).
We didn’t always get to church during this time. I guess we got a bit burned out from attending chapel services at GBC all those years. When we did search for a church home we were frequently disappointed by how little many church services actually teach from God’s Word (the Bible). I mean this isn’t supposed to be a club meeting for good people, it’s supposed to be a teaching time for sinning saints.
Where were we on September 11, 2001? On our way to visit Barb’s Mom during our move to Sierra Vista, Arizona; a place whose main employer is a military base (what were we thinking?). We had just entered the Texas Welcome Center when we saw they had TV’s showing people being moved out of the White House. Then they showed a recording of the second Tower coming down. It took a little getting used to looking up and not seeing any airplanes in the sky during the remainder of that trip.
One important lesson that was imparted to us… no place on this planet is ever going to feel completely like home. That won’t come until we get to Heaven and see Jesus face to face. I hope I see you There.
I’ll see you later. Wade