We are moved. Maybe I should say, we have been moved. (We had a lot of help.) We were also moved, in the emotional sense, more than we can say. Here is some of the gauntlet of goodness that we ran the last couple weeks, trying not to stop long enough to question our decision to go:
- Certain superwomen from the church came over each day for a couple weeks to help pack the kitchen, pantry, and nursery, or simply play with Valor while I got stuff done. (Valor loved this arrangement.)
- Certain friends came over, ignored the obvious practical needs of packing and cleaning, and simply looked into our eyes, asked how we were doing, listened, and prayed. Or played board games with us.
- Our church sent us out with so much pomp, we felt like exalted missionaries to the heathens. We were marinaded in prayers and tears, feted with food and goodies, and gifted with cards and thoughtful words. Oh, to have a bottle of this to uncork during lonely times to come!
- Our pastor preached a sermon partly as an exhortation directly to us to continue to work hard and not be discouraged. Our friends on the Mission Committee gathered around us and prayed for us on stage. We were basically spoiled to death and made much of, lovingly speaking.
- A sweet family dinner and worship time with my best friend Susan and her family (at this point I was really wondering why we were moving, again…?)
- We were given our very own going-away party, where everyone took pictures with us and wrote us kind notes. The centerpiece was a (I’m stretching for an adjective that is extreme enough here) spectabulous set of cakes and cupcakes by none other than…Jen and John Y. of Cake Wrecks fame. Highly desired by Letterman and Martha, they remain, in spite of all that’s changed, our super steady and loyal friends.
- Our excellent and indefatigable friend, the same John Y. of above, was our volunteer pack-master and truck driver, and his associate pack-master was our brother Steve A.. On truck-packing day rumors wafted back to my location inside the house that we would need to start prioritizing what we reeeeeally wanted…I panicked! I wanted it all! But we prayed, and John Y. and Steve unpacked and re-packed and got almost everything in there after all.
- After everyone left, we were trying to fit the last things into our cars and clean the house so it would show well. Valor was tired, crying, and I was exhausted and about to cry too when I finally called a friend to ask her to come back and help us finish. When she arrived with her reinforcements she sent me off to the house we were staying at so I could put Valor to bed.
I could tell you ten more examples of the incredible acts of service we received during this time. Will we ever have friends like this in New Bern?
The next day I set off with Valor and my friend Cheree to get to New Bern in three days via Savannah and Raleigh. Valor checked out the dandelions (why didn’t I know that he would try to eat it instead of blow it?), the historical markers, and the park swings. John, Cheree’s husband Josh, and John Y. and the truck followed the next day in a trip with less stops.
A friend of mine gave me an old-fashioned handkerchief as a parting gift. I put it in my glovebox because I expected that I would dissolve in tears as we left Orlando, but I didn’t, and I still haven’t. Stripping all our belongings out of our house made it feel less like my house, and therefore easier to let go of. Traveling with friends was a great way to keep loneliness at bay a little longer, too, and then we had family staying with us here a while as well. Saying goodbye to all the people we love in Orlando doesn’t really seem real yet. Long-distance friendships aren’t as hard to maintain as they used to be, or maybe I’m deluded into thinking that things haven’t changed that much. Maybe I’m still in shock, or just enjoying a measure of God’s peace. Anyway, I’m doing all right in the quiet spaces of my life right now.
Next post: moving into our new (rental) house in New Bern, and John’s first week on the job…
And big update: our house in Winter Springs is under contract after just over a month on the (terrible Central Florida) market! Praise God!!!! Please pray that the appraisal matches our price so the buyer’s funding comes through.