Since the time I was a little boy, I’ve been helping people move. In one of my earliest memories, my brother and I are bundled against a cold midwestern winter Saturday. We’re wearing matching sweatshirts zipped all the way up with hoods pulled tight, and we’re walking down the block to help a family friend with a move.
As we get to the house, my dad switches into philosophical/family mode, and tells us, “boys, our family has strong backs, and we know it’s important to help people. So when we can, we help people move.”
As I remember, we were too little to help with much of anything that day. I think we mostly watched figure skating on TV while large pieces of furniture floated around us. But the lesson stuck. When someone moves, I feel duty-bound to give it everything I’ve got.
The moves where you load the rental truck, follow it in your car, and unload it on the other end are more demanding physically, but less emotionally draining. The move this weekend was of the other variety. Our roommate left for a cool job in North Carolina, and left us with a house that suddenly seems very empty. It is empty physically, as I listen to the keys echo while I type this. But it is empty emotionally, too. As I feel the absence of a person who, four years ago, moved here to plant a church that has given me my life back. A person who has taken me in, and befriended me, and put up with all of my alarming sounds and smells and irritating habits, and opened her life to me. A person who has shaped my life.