Moving Day

Yesterday marked the beginning of a new stage in our pilgrimage.  We left our small Austin apartment and moved into the home of our friends, the Janknegts.  We were met with hugs and cakes, banners and cozy beds in a chapel.  It was a beautiful and happy occasion, though we are not home yet. Once again we find ourselves dependent on the hospitality of God's children - a good reminder that we will always be pilgrims on this earth.

Moving day set me to thinking about other spiritual matters, particularly the final judgment. On moving day, everything comes to light and must be accounted for.  That soup which spilled over the pot and seeped under the burners didn't just go away. Baseboards neglected for the past 12 months cry out for justice.  Bare walls reveal the marks of boisterous boys.  Every burned out light bulb, every missing doorstop, every bent blind will be counted and charged to your bill.

Standing in the middle of our mostly empty apartment on Thursday morning, looking at the mountain which must be moved by 6:00 pm, a terrible dread fell over me and my husband.  It was an impossible task.  Simply clearing our remaining stuff would be daunting; cleaning was almost unthinkable. We were doomed to pay the penalty of our sloven sins. 

And then, grace intervened in the form of God's saints .  Lynn and her son showed up with a fancy vacuum.  Bill drove his granddaughter all the way across town to pull nails and fill holes.  We had babysitting help.  And Thomas' mom drove into town with our nieces. By the end of the day, the carpet was standing at attention, the windows were sparkling, and all the refrigerator's spots had been washed away. Even the cat found an unexpected safe haven with a neighbor.  It was amazing - truly an undeserved gift.

Feeling a huge debt of love for all the people who helped us on Thursday, and those who came for the back-breaking labor the day before, I was reminded of the parable of the unjust steward, the strangest of Jesus' parables in my mind. I never could understand why Jesus would choose such a lousy guy as a spiritual example - until moving day, when I realized I had a lot in common with that lousy steward.  I was facing a judgment I could not avoid.  I would be in debt.  My only saving grace was the help of friends. Thank God for wonderful, merciful friends!

I have a renewed energy to help my neighbors in need - to cook a meal, make a bed, change a diaper, or wield a broom for someone in need. And to pray for my neighbor. We all need help on moving day.