I hate moving. No. Really. I HATE moving. Every time I’ve had to move, I swear by all that’s holy that I will NEVER move again. Ever. I’m up to seven moves now. You’d think I’d give it up and accept the changes. Well, you would unless you really know me. In that case, you just smile and let me rave for awhile, knowing that when the time comes, I’ll suck it up and do it anyway.
Moving from Ridgewood, New Jersey to Overland Park, Kansas was the first time I moved. I was 9. We left everything familiar behind and traded it in for extremes. No more four seasons. It was hot, 107 hot, or it was cold, -25 cold. Thunderstorms meant tornado sirens. We didn’t get snow. We got ice storms that lasted three or four days. Bugs? Try the flying roaches, the massive swarms of little green bugs on the ceiling every single night or the 2-inch long cicada killer wasps – note that 2 inches doesn’t include the massive stinger- and I am deathly afraid of bees. That was three long years and all I wanted was to go HOME, back to Jersey where I belonged, where nobody made fun of my accent and where nature wasn’t hellbent on killing me.
Then we moved to Stratford, Connecticut. Not where I wanted to be but it was closer to home and thank God, it wasn’t Kansas anymore. Over the last 28 years I’ve bounced around western Connecticut a bit. Stratford, Milford, Derby, West Haven, back to Milford, and finally back to Stratford. Every move has been the Never Ever Again move.
The idea that I would one day go home to Ridgewood was one I had to let go of one finger at a time. I still go back to visit and every time, it has been a bittersweet reminder that Jersey isn’t home anymore. I can’t say exactly when I finally gave up altogether and accepted that Stratford is where I belong, only that I finally did.
Almost every morning for the last seven years, I’ve been at the beach, even if it’s only for five minutes. I need it. I live for summer vacation when my mornings are free until 9 and I can spend a few hours there before diving headlong into my day. This is my beach, come rain, shine, wind, snow and storms. These are my seagulls. Yes, I’ve named them. Yes, I can tell them apart. And yes, I know you probably think I’m crazy. No, I don’t care.
Funny thing about the water, even at it’s most calm, it’s always moving. I suppose in some ways so am I. See, I make all the same protests about moving spiritually that I make about moving physically: I am staying right here. Moving hurts. I’m not moving again. You can’t make me. Fast forward a year or so: Wait, how’d I get here?! When did that happen?! That’s it. No more. I’m staying right here!
Yes, I am walking, talking proof that God is eternally patient.
I know when I get within sight of the water, my soul explodes outward. It’s a gift. It’s a gift I wouldn’t have received had I gotten what I so desperately wanted, which was to go back. The beach has served as a metaphor for my life over the years, even before I really noticed it. As I’ve changed, so has my beach. I’ve seen sandbars come and go. I’ve seen even the biggest boulders moved by the water. I’ve seen reinforced concrete walls fall down and I see the folly of rebuilding them.
You’d think seeing all this, I’d quit digging in my heels and accept the inevitable movements in my life. Well, you would unless you really know me. In that case, you’ll just smile and let me rave for awhile, knowing that when the time comes, I’ll suck it up and move forward anyway.