By Samantha McKenzie
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.”
This weekend I started my move to Raleigh, N.C. I had prepared for this moment well in advance. I planned it out back in January, scoped out everything I could about my city-to-be and sorted through tons of properties looking to strike a nice balance between good schools and shorter commutes.
I bought boxes, scheduled the moving truck and coordinated with family and friends for this very day. Each month leading up to the move, I made strides toward the moving list. I started cleaning out closets in February and in March I made a healthy list of rentals. By the time April ushered in, I was scheduling visits to various sites and well on my way to go full steam ahead.
I dread moving (like everyone else) so I spent every weekend for two months decluttering rooms and closets. I needed to do it in stages. I visited the Salvation Army so many times, the last time I dropped off another set of bags, the assistant offered to pray for me before giving me a receipt. I thought I had everything under control until I had to come face-to-face with these empty rooms.
Until now, nothing could have prepared me for that feeling of emptiness, of leaving all of my past behind. There I stood, staring down the nakedness of every room. I flashed back on the 13 years I spent raising my children in this house. It held years of laughter in it and the quiet tears as well. I remembered piecing together the crib that welcomed my youngest child into the world. I remembered every painting, trophy and award I hung or placed around the house to show off their achievements. I brushed my fingers over the tiny holes in the walls that were left behind. I remembered the plans made at the dining room table (like talking with my writing partner to create this blog), and the visits from family members excited to see how big the children had grown. I remembered too, the home cooked meals, the love and the jokes we all shared as a giddy group. I couldn’t help but remember the moment I made the decision to ask for a divorce. This house held together a good part of my emotions – the ones that brought me extreme pain and immense joy. I know now that I needed it all and learned to use it to push the family forward. I grew up, just like the children, right under this sacred roof.
As I packed down more of my past and taped it away neatly into boxes, I remembered sitting at the dining room table typing yet another paper due by midnight that would get me closer towards that next degree. I remembered the Friday night fish frys with the friends who had become like family over the years.
To say the feelings I touched on this weekend were bittersweet is an understatement. I said a brief prayer as the last box was placed in the moving truck.
I prayed for a safe passage into my next chapter in life. I thanked God for each experience in this home, good or bad, they all increased my faith and my strength. I prayed also to embrace the emptiness, and to accept it as a temporary and necessary feeling of transition. I prayed to hold on to my memories, but not to let them interfere with my future. I thanked God for the opportunity to declutter, to toss some things into the sea of forgetfulness and to pass on some of our belongings to someone else who could make good use of it.
I’m moving out and moving on. The blank rooms that I’m heading into will be like a new canvas. I look forward to the stories yet to be written and the mysteries of the days to come.
Walking briskly into my future and as scary as it feels, I can’t wait. Raleigh, N.C., here we come. I’m moving on…