Monday, June 18, 2007

half packed

i hate packing and i hate moving. our apartment is in chaos — boxes everywhere, bits of trash on the floor, empty dressers, garbage bags that need to go out but can't be put outside until tomorrow — there's no where to walk in here!

this is becoming an increasingly uncomfortable place to live. for instance, i can't find the things i need anymore. yesterday, i preached my last sermon here in montreal, but remembered the night before that i had already packed my dark socks. i had mostly decided to just wear white socks, but in the morning, i realized that i had also packed all of my ties! so i had to find the appropriate box and re-open it. my shirt was a bit wrinkled, but i couldn't iron it, since we had already given away our iron!

another thing i notice is that we think of our material possessions very differently now. things that we've spent a lifetime acquiring, we are ready to give away. it's not that we don't care about them, but they're too much trouble (and expensive) to move, and i just wish someone who could use them well would take them away. in some cases, we're hoping for some better replacements in the next location, but regardless, knowing that we're moving relativizes the value of the items we have now.

there comes a point in the packing when a place stops feeling like home, when most of the things that matter have been prepared to be shipped to the new place, and many things that matter less are being jettisoned. we haven't moved into our new place yet, but we already know the address, have seen the photos, and more and more, begin to think of that place as home.

all of this should sound at least vaguely familiar. this mortal life is a wonderful gift, but it is a temporary accommodation. and throughout the course of it, we should be increasingly 'in boxes,' laying up our true treasures for the next life. i suspect that if we're doing it right, this life feels less and less like 'our place,' and we look forward with increasing anticipation to the new place — the one we have only seen a glimpse of, but have already begun to think of as home.

store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

matthew 6:20-21

in my Father’s house are many dwelling places;
if it were not so, i would have told you;
for i go to prepare a place for you.
if i go and prepare a place for you, i will come again and receive you to myself,
that where i am, there you may be also.

john 14:2-3

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