Moving / by Sarah Schwartz

"Pictures, dishes and socks, it's our whole lives, down to one box..."

This Sugarland song gets stuck in my head anytime I'm preparing to move.

Moving day usually looks like me standing the middle of my bedroom/apartment/house, hands on my hips, surveying my half-hearted attempts to "get a head start" on packing from earlier in the week. To anyone within ear-shot, I loudly bemoan the fact that my mother is a thousand miles away, & make threats to just take a match to everything. You'd think I'd developed the skills for this by now, or at least a better attitude, but five years and eight moves later, I possess neither.

At heart I'm still the kid who lives where the pavement turns to gravel on Brentano Lane, in the farmhouse my family has called home for a hundred years. There's something in me that longs for a physical place to belong to and call mine, something that makes my heart break just a little every time I leave a dwelling or a chapter behind. Moving always overwhelms me with a particular kind of grief for what was, for the people and places that brought me to where I am.

And so this move finds me mourning. My best friend and roommate of three years is leaving to get married, and my remaining circle of college friends are scattering just a little bit farther than they were last year. But  this move is also reminding what it's like to be hopeful for what's next.

It's been a while since I've felt anything resembling hope; it's been a while since I've felt anything, really. But something about the month of May has my heart beating again, and I am trying not to be afraid of it.

Maybe it's because I'm packing my things, which means going through the black and white polka-dot boxes where I keep old letters and pictures. Maybe it's sitting on the floor of our almost empty living room laughing with friends who are helping us polish off our remaining alcohol before we have to defrost the fridge. Maybe it's crawling into my roommate's queen bed because it's our last morning waking up together, and having her sleepy hand grab mine.

These moments are reacquainting me with my heart, gently coaxing it out of hiding, reminding me that not everything is lost or broken or heavy.

Maybe moving is just the reminder I needed that things are always changing and being made new, and that includes me.

So tomorrow I will load up my things with the help of a few good and faithful friends, and drive them to a place I have never lived before, carrying with me pieces of all the places I've called mine along the way, not entirely sure of what's next.

But I will lean into hope. And I will try not to be afraid of it.