22 August, 2008

A moving experience...

In my line of work, wholeness usually refers to a state of being spiritually and physically. This week, my wholeness abounds because of our having successfully moved to Chico last weekend; AND finally being back online. Similar to Sweeney Todd when he was reunited with his beloved barber's tools (although nothing gruesome) I feel complete when I have my Mac in hand (or lap as the case maybe).

It's been over a week since my last post and SO much has transpired. I will endeavour to bring y'all up to speed with our relocation move from San Diego to Chico.

Before the Move:
Moving is hard enough but add to it the idea of relocating almost 600 miles to a new city and a new church which just happens to be one's new job... and it can be fraught with some major emotions. Don and I were sorely behind in getting everything handled and packed in time for the moving truck on Friday, August 15th.

We are blessed with really good friends who showed up under the wire to help us get motivated and pack every last tschotke into every cardboard box available. To respect their privacy I am not listing them by name because I know that their Seva efforts saved us and came from a heart of love. We are so thankful.

And speaking of Seva, (which means service in Sanskrit), our friend, Captain John Henke ( a stalwart and courageous sea captain) stepped forward and was not only the captain of the U-Haul 26' ship that transported our worldly goods to Chico but he supervised the loading and unloading of the truck on both ends. John also had the good sense to organize the garage in such a way that we could unload a majority of boxes to be left in the garage until we were ready to open them so as to not feel smothered in cardboard.

The Cavalry:
Sunday morning, the three of us went to an early breakfast and came back to finish up the garage and house in preparation of the unloaders I had hired from the Chico Craigslist. It seemed like such a good plan because in San Diego, I hired three guys from the SteppingStone recovery house to help for three hours loading the truck for us. It was a win-win for everyone. Thinking I had this all planned out till Travis and his men stood us up. I called three times and only got an answering machine. I was angry not only because he flaked but because I didn't want to compromise Don or John further with heavy physical labor of the unloading and we still had to drive John to the Sacramento airport to fly him back to San Diego that afternoon.

Facing my dilemma, knowing what I would have shared with a client or congregant, I called my new church and left a message with Rev. Karen (who is nobly serving as our Interim Minister) and I explained the situation. Without hesitation, she called back to say that the Chico Cavalry would be there after church service and that they were very eager and willing to be of help.

You see, in my mind, I did not want to bother anyone from the church; nor did I want them to see me looking scruffy, sweaty and haggard from the stress of the last few days. This was a perfect example of E.G.O. = edging God out. I had patently avoided and resisted asking for help from anyone at the church because of my preconceived notion of what and how I should look when they were first to see their new pastor in Chico. I was denying them an opportunity of Seva. God had other ideas. Instead, I got to be flexible and humble as I surrendered to their generosity and support. And I thought I would be the one delivering the first Sunday lesson for this community in Chico; instead it was the other way around.

Oh, but don't stop there. This team proceeded to get pizza and beverages for everyone for a quick lunch break before resuming duty. This time, the crew went around the house to ensure that all heavy pieces were in the right room in the right place before leaving Don and I to sort things out on our own.

A Pounding:
Not as in a headache or some local form of Rolfing. More along the lines of an accelerated heart beat as I had to be even more flexible in my ability to receive. In this case it was because Rev. Karen and Julia, the vice-president of the church Board presented us with a huge box (and prettily wrapped bags) for our Pounding (a.k.a. Housewarming) from the Spiritual Enrichment Center.

The flier on the box stated that this was an old-fashioned Pounding for Rev. Duchess and her husband, Don. Giving a pounding is an old-fashioned way to help someone by stocking their pantry with non-perishable foods or cleaning supplies--as in " a pound of this and a pound of that..." And our box and bags were filled with paper goods, snacks, soaps, candles, coffee (and happily not just any coffee) etc., and even food and treats for Jezebelle!

Don and I were blown away by such thoughtfulness and hospitality. If I had been concerned about how I appeared earlier, this 'pounded' out any chance of sustaining any mystique I had created about what I should look and act like. God is so good.

Even in the midst of my emotion, it struck me that here was my former San Diego church Board vice-president moving me and handing me over to my new Chico church vice-president. What would be the odds of that happening in someone else's life?


Then we loaded up the truck with the furniture and boxes that were to go to my church office and dropped them off their while Don drove John to the airport. Upon arriving at my new office, we quickly learned my loveseat would not fit through the door. Before my weary mind could ascertain a solution, the door had been removed, the loveseat moved in and the door back on it's hinges with no one worse for wear. Stopping only briefly to enjoy the creative distraction of picking out the paint colors for my office (the paint and labor for that, also generously donated by church members!) we caravaned to the U-Haul store and got the truck returned at 4:59 p.m before they closed. Talk about your Seva....

By day's end, Don and I were home and comfortable and lacking for no thing. And speaking of comfortable, our kittygirl, Belle who was amazingly patient and calm during the long drive, immediately adapted to her new house with great ease. Within less than five minutes of being out of her cage, she had traversed the new house, determined it's perfection and plopped down in the middle of the living room for a rest. We have never seen her this relaxed and happy. And she was even sociable and came out to meet and greet the Cavalry when they were here.

Belle's paw of approval only added to the moving experience this was for us--physically, emotionally and spiritual.

Whole-some goodness.
And so it is.
And so I Am.
And so we are.

City Slackers

No, I did not misspell the title of this post. Yes, I was playing off of the comedy film title, "City Slickers" about a bunch of...