Moving Out and Moving On
Not long ago, I moved out of a house I’d lived in for twelve years. Not only was the move exhausting and stressful, it also forced me to put everything else on the back burner. On a positive note, it provided an opportunity for me to reassess what was important. With single-minded determination, I focused on packing and cleaning, ignoring most normal activities—with the exception of not-to-be-missed episodes of my favorite TV shows, Timeless and The Crossing. Even I’m not that focused.
Moving ranks as one of the top five life stressors. According to some psychologists, it’s preceded only by death and divorce. One of the reasons is undoubtedly the huge amount of time and energy it takes to move. But the main reason it’s so hard for me is simply because it signals change. New places, people, and experiences are all part of moving on to a different space, and even if the move is welcomed, it can still be challenging. I don’t have to remind anyone that change typically involves stretching and growing. And that is never easy.
In The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis introduces a rather unlikable character named Eustace, who falls asleep in a dragon’s cave, and upon awakening, discovers he’s turned into a dragon. In his isolation, Eustace is overcome by loneliness and realizes he had not been a particularly nice boy before his transformation. One day, he encounters the lion, Aslan, who leads him to a well. Eustace desires more than anything to enter the well, but Aslan tells him he must first remove his dragon skin. After peeling off several layers, he thinks he’s ready, but Aslan tells him he must dig deeper into his scales and offers to help. The pain of the “beastly stuff” being torn off his flesh is almost more than he can bear, but in the end, he’s glad to be rid of the heavy burden of the dragon scales. He enters the “perfectly delicious” water and becomes a boy once again.
Eustace had to undergo a painful process before he could become what he really wanted to become—a human boy. If he had been unwilling to change, he would never have achieved his greatest desire. And we have to do the same. If we choose to remain for years in a comfortable, predictable situation, we can never reach our full potential. Taking risks and moving out of our comfort zones can lead us to unimaginable places.
One more thing about moving: I realized as a sorted through clothes, shoes, and other stuff how much I had changed. Even though I had clothes that still fit my body or household items that were in good shape, it became obvious that many of these things no longer fit me. Some were the wrong color or style, and others were no longer compatible with my desire for comfort. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I was not the same person who had moved into the house twelve years earlier. Change is a good thing. It’s time to move on.