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Of boxes and baggage

Ronnie McBrayer

Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

As I sit down to write this week’s column, there is a moving truck parked in my driveway. Most of my family’s earthly belongings are already loaded, and we are down to computers, televisions, and mattresses on the floor. We are excited about our new home and energized about the future, but our hearts are fractured a bit as we leave friends and familiarity. One thing, in the midst of all this emotional and transitional upheaval, is certain however: I despise the actual act of moving.

There are boxes to pack, furniture to disassemble, cabinets to clean out, an attic to expunge, and more heavy-lifting than any human being should ever be subjected. I adhere to a wonderful proverb that a Czech friend shared in the midst of these moving days. She said, “In my country we have a saying: ‘The best move is a fire.’”

Moving, of any kind, is hard. We settle into the usual state of affairs, and rarely move/change/grow without somehow being compelled into it. Sometimes the compulsion to move comes to us as a gentle nudge. Sometimes we change our lives because of a major crisis. And sometimes we get knocked off of dead center like a smack to the head – we change, simply because we have no other choice.

The truth is few of us would grow without such pressure. The effort it takes to work through all our stuff is just too back-breaking. Our attics are filled with stowed away anger, resentment, and unforgiveness, kept in mothballs because we cannot bear to let these go. Into the basements of our hearts we have shoved our hate, fear, and distrust. And our cupboards and closets are running over with unresolved regrets, personal disappointments, and the tyranny of “what-might-have-been.”

Pushing the analogy to its limits, the moving truck into your future is not able to hold all of your junk. To move on, all of these stores and stocks have to be dealt with. Yes, we would all prefer a fire. That would be easier. Just start life fresh and clean, without all the boxes, baggage, disassembly and disorder. But a do-over is not one of our options. We must begin with where we are, with who we are, and with what circumstances we have been blessed or cursed, and from there move into the future. It’s not easy, but it is the only way.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author. His books include “Leaving Religion, Following Jesus” and “The Jesus Tribe.” Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.net.

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