This past week an insurance ad stated that the average number of times a person moves is eleven. This number seemed a bit high to me until I started counting my life-time moves and guess what? This past week was my tenth move! Once again I am unpacking boxes that hold my life’s story within their depths and assimilating them into a new space called home. With each move there is planning and packing with a little anxiety thrown in the mix when leaving one home for another but with each transition there is also excitement to turn the page for a new adventure. With each move, I have experienced growth in discovering who I am along with a better understanding of who God has created me to be.
From seminary, I moved to Colorado Springs, which opened the world to me outside of my home state of Minnesota. The mountainous beauty abounded with Pike’s Peak’s snowy crest rising high in the background, and many places like The Garden of the Gods, to hike in nature. As a hospital chaplain, I had many discussions with patients who shared their faith stories of being closest to God when they trekked through the foothills and fished in the flowing streams. It also gave me an opportunity to learn how to be present with people in their doubts and pain. This short time in Colorado helped me transition and let go of the my pain of the past relationships and start anew. Not only did I hike through the foothills of nature, I trekked through mountains of emotional, psychological and spiritual paths to find forgiveness and peace for my spirit.
This newfound peace and well being found a home in Florida. The terrain in Colorado while beautiful, trapped my spirit within the walls of the mountains. The Sunshine State provided me with new possibilities hidden at the endless horizon of gulf waters. My move to St. Pete will always be special for two reasons. First, it was where I felt God show me my purpose in church ministry. Even though I was not an ordained a pastor, I was still able to impact the lives of people working behind the scenes using my gifts of organization and coordination through a theological lens. The second special event with this move afforded me the opportunity to become a homeowner. This choice was empowering and so gratifying. Many hours were spent sitting on my 6th- floor patio watching the sunrise and set each day conversing with God about my joy, fear, trust, anxiety and faith. Through it all our relationship grew stronger!
This was also the first home in which I posted a mezuzah to my doorpost. What is a mezuzah you might ask? It is a small case made from metal or in my case ceramic, that has holds a small scroll inside with this biblical text inscribed, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates,” (Deut. 6:5-9). It is a meaningful text to Jews and Christians alike. Last year when I flew with a group from our church to Israel, numerous Jewish men stood praying in the aisles with little boxes, called Tefillin, attached to their foreheads and strapped to their forearms. Within these boxes is a parchment printed with the same biblical text reminding them of the God who delivered them from slavery, of their continued love and fear of the great I Am as well as the assurance the God will remain faithful in their obedience to the Torah. Those prayer boxes were a familiar site as we travelled throughout the Holy Land. While I don’t follow this Jewish tradition, posting a mezuzah on my doorpost is a good reminder to me of God’s presence in my home. Sometimes, like Israel, I have wandered in the wilderness and God has delivered me safely to the promise land. As a woman of faith, the feelings of love and respect burn deep within me trusting that God is faithful even when I am not. This little box also reminds me to spend time reading the Word, obeying God’s commands to love one another and to treat others, as I want to be treated. And finally this small box reminds me of God faithfulness that no matter my circumstances God loves me and better yet passionately pursues me at any cost. Now where did I pack that little reminder box? The hunt is on…