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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Moving On

I lie in bed in the old familiar room. I first slept in this room when I was just over a year old. The neighbour hood was quiet then as it transformed from fields of beans to a network of homes and streets. On a hot night like this, we would have had the windows open and the peaceful rhythm of the crickets would have serenaded us to sleep.

Tonight the dominant noise is from the busy freeway which passes a couple of blocks away. It carries traffic up and down the length of California and it never sleeps. Trucks and cars hum and sing and roar their way past like a river in spate. Where on earth is everybody going at 2 am?

We have worked hard for a few days to pack up the essentials for the coming migration. The movers will be here at 9 and they will begin carrying my mother's furniture and essentials over the threshold and out through the door, to be rearranged in a new place, a few miles further down the freeway. A place which she will now call home.

But of course for her, as for me and for her grandchildren, that will never be home. This will remain home in mind and heart though eventually others will hang their hats here. Others will laugh and live and love within these walls and I pray a blessing on them, that there will be as much joy here as there has been for over sixty years.

I lie awake on into the night, and I think of Abraham. He had a comfortable, familiar home in a modern city called Ur. He had friends and family and amenities and then God called him to pack up and begin a nomadic life trekking to somewhere called the promised land.

He didn't have movers to help him, nor had he had a chance to measure the rooms in the new place and calculate the furniture he could take. He could take what he could carry. Like many a refugee today, that may not have been very much.

He didn't have a chance to visit the promised land and decide whether or not it would be a good move. He had an encounter with God and heard his marching orders and obeyed.

The Bible recounts his story of highs and lows along the way. It records that Abraham was a man of great faith, who walked out into the unknown trusting in the God who guided him.

Life is a journey. Sometimes that journey is physical, like the one I am helping my mother make, and sometimes, usually, it is spiritual, mental, emotional, or indeed, all of these things.

As the Celtic blessing says, may the road rise up to meet you, may the wind always be at your back, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. As my mother moves on, heartbroken and grieving for times now past, I pray that God will continue to hold her in the palm of his strong and loving hand.

I will lie down again, perhaps to sleep, perchance to dream, probably to continue remembering the years, the lives, the people who have left their mark on this place, which will remain a precious oasis in my mind always.

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