The Teacher in Ecclesiastes says there is a time for everything. In his long list, I don’t think he gets to a time for moving and a time for staying, unless it is right there in verse 2 “a time to plant and a time to uproot“. The word uproot is maybe better anyway, a little more descriptive of what happens when one moves, a little more true to the emotions, the grief, and the anticipation, that are wrapped up in a move.
The trauma of being uprooted, even if you bring it on yourself, likely depends a bit on how long you have been planted in a particular place. We moved last week from the place where I have spent most of my life. Not always in the same house, but in the same area. Roots and relationships run deep and long. Roads and places are warmly familiar. Faces and voices have points of connection.
J and I were gathering supplies at the local grocery store the weekend before the move and there, beginning her own shopping, was my grade one teacher. This woman, now in her late seventies, plays a big part in my early memories. She has lived in the area as long as I have known her and even though we had not actually visited, it soon became clear through her questions about bike trips and ministry, that she had been keeping pretty good track of us through the community’s verbal information cloud. We were being held by the wider community. Our lives are, in a way, part of theirs. By moving, particularly by moving 400 km away, we have weakened something that is hard to measure. Something beautiful, and a little creepy fades.
There is, of course, the anticipation of the new and the realization of the reasons for the move. We have come to Prince Edward County to be closer to our daughter, her family, our grand children, to be able to have meals together regularly, to help out with child care, to do the things grandparents do. We’d love to be able to live near all of our grand children but the lives they have chosen, and the roles we have taken on, make that impossible.
And so, we anticipate new things, meeting new people, becoming part of new communities, finding our places in a new place, exploring new back roads and restaurants, and maybe even becoming part of the conversation in kitchens and coffee shops in this part of the world.