Just 18 months ago I wrote about moving my dad from his home of 44 plus years to assisted living. I also stated then that “We have learned much from this experience and hope to be able to make the same transition someday just as easy for our kids.” Well, this summer we began that process of hoping to make it easier for our kids down the road. While we are, hopefully, a long way from seeking assisted living we have begun the downsizing that comes when one moves nearly 3,000 miles southwest to a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean. It has not been easy sorting through 52 years of accumulation of “stuff”, the down side of living in the same house for 37 years. And, the bigger the house, the more you have to sort through and get rid of.
During this summer my thoughts turned to the nation of Israel when they were told by Moses that it was time to return to their homeland. The Israelites had been there 400 years so for those living in that day it was the only home they knew. Yet they were being told to start packing up their belongings and be ready to start traveling. Granted, they did not possess the material things we have today, but they also had to pack all the gold and silver and jewelry that the Egyptians were giving them. No SUV’s, trucks or trailers, just camels, donkeys and ox carts.
Jeri and I, like the Israelites, are not moving across town or just a few states away, but almost like to another country because of the great water distance. There is no easy or cheap way to ship anything unless it is a car. I can ship my 3,500 pound Camaro to Hawaii for less than a 4x4x4 ft pallet of stuff weighing 1,000 lbs. I can also mail boxes up to 70 lbs. each cheaper than putting them on a pallet. I may have to wait 3-5 weeks for it but, hey, I’m retired, I can wait. Just when you thought the post office was useless------- go figure!
The past three months have been difficult emotionally. We have spent the time sorting through a lifetime of “stuff”, giving things to our kids, yard selling some, donating a lot, throwing away some. All had memories attached, so it was not just throwing stuff away, but in a sense, memories. It took much longer than expected because of time spent reminiscing and running across things that triggered memories of events that had been long forgotten, trials on this ranch where God used members of this church to answer our prayers of desperation. We are having to pick and choose what items we want to take to Hawaii or leave behind. There are some things that are priceless, such as family photos that we will take. Other items will cost more to replace over there than to ship. Most of it we can do without. Jeri has to give up her nest of 37 years, and it has been difficult. She is anxious to return to Hawaii and start building her new nest there.
And then there are the emotions our kids are having to deal with as they see the home they grew up in suddenly not be available for family gatherings and holidays.
The end result will be good. I remember what it was like to sort through my dad’s and Father-in-laws things after they passed away and it was not fun. Our kids will have less to sort through and get rid of when we are gone and they will have had the extra time to enjoy what has been handed down. And hopefully we will do less accumulating of useless junk in the years ahead. Besides, we can’t take it with us so why have it at this point.
|Why we are moving to Hawaii!!|
There have been times this summer that I began to think we had become border line hoarders. It seemed we seldom threw anything out. I have begun to admire people who readily clean out their closets and garages. Their theory is if you haven’t used or wore it in the last 2 or 3 years, you probably don’t need it. I could never do that in the past but if I had, it would have saved me a lot of time and effort now.
Most of what we are giving up matters little, but the one thing that affects us both is leaving the ranch on Pumpkin Ridge. It is a hallowed piece of ground, peaceful beyond description, where God molded and shaped our family into the people we are today. It has been the school ground where God taught me about Himself and me, where he revealed to me what my gifts and talents were. It has been the place our family has spent all but two Christmas’ in the last 37 years and most Thanksgivings with friends and neighbors. It has been the place where we have shed more blood, sweat and tears than I care to recall. But it is also the place where God has revealed himself in so many ways, where he performed miracles, answered prayers, fulfilled the promises in His holy scriptures, sustained us when all hope was lost, healed me of cancer – twice.
Those who have visited this place know how special it is, the beauty and serenity that surrounds the land, the feeling of God’s presence, the sense that it is almost holy ground. But there comes a time when good things must come to an end, when God says it is time to move on to a new chapter in life, much like the nation of Israel. While they were leaving a place of slavery and cruelty, we are not. But it has become harder for us to live here with the age and health issues that interfere with the work that is required to maintain a ranch.
In the spring of next year a new young couple will take over the reins of this place, to perhaps raise a family, to learn what God has to teach them in this school yard of life’s lessons. James and Kaycee already love and appreciate this place and I know will take even better care of it than I have been able to. All of this has taken place in such a way that God’s hand can be seen directing all involved. We can pass this on with a great peace of mind knowing it is God’s will.
We will be returning for summers, visiting family and friends, living in our fifth wheel trailer and spending time “On the road again”. We love you all very much. Aloha Mike and Jeri