On July 30th, we loaded out of our home of the last 20 years. Brother Randy Berry, who moved us to Austin 20 years ago, again helped us move to our new home in Cedar Park. On top of furniture, he estimated 191 boxes would be needed! (He was amazingly accurate in that estimate!) Our new home is one story and about 900 square feet smaller than our previous home. The previous owners, members of Bethany, had done an amazing job of taking care of it. We had no major repairs to do. They had made some upgrades which we knew we would enjoy and would make the most of the space. Cindi planned where things would go and got help with some design decisions.
On August 2nd, we loaded into our new home. We already had culled some items and discovered we had some more we needed to get rid of. Despite a thunderstorm, it went smoothly. At the end of the day, we were in. But much of our things were still packed in (191) boxes. Now began the process of unpacking boxes and putting things away. Amid the clutter of empty boxes, packing paper, and boxes still to be opened, our home felt chaotic and crowded. As we prepared to welcome family for Charlotte’s baptism, Cindi had a sinking moment. Looking at the chaos, she wondered out loud: “Did we go too small?”; “Is there really a place for everything?”; “Are we ever going to feel truly settled in?” In response, I decided to focus on rearranging some boxes to make space and encouraged her to focus on getting rid of the used boxes and paper. In a couple of days, the house felt more spacious and uncluttered. We both felt like this new house was becoming our home. Then we welcomed 30+ folks for lunch after Charlotte’s baptism. Suddenly, it was home!
Over the past couple of years, facing the challenges of our world in the context of COVID-19 has made many of us feel like we are constantly unpacking boxes. About the time we think we have it under control, another truck full of spiritual and emotional boxes shows up at our life’s doorstep. We have struggled. We have wondered if we are ever going to feel unpacked and settled again. We have felt overwhelmed by it all. No matter how much we have tried to prepare and strategize, we feel off balance and unsure.
That is why we need our Bethany family to reconnect this fall. Yes, we still have some “boxes in the living room”. No, we don’t have it all figured out. Some “boxes” will just have to wait for unpacking. Some things are being culled. But it isn’t the circumstances of life or the things we have or the usual routines that make Bethany our home. It is the shared love of God and our family of Christ followers, and Christ, that make Bethany our home.
So, let’s come together this fall. We can fellowship in spite of the emotional clutter. We can clear space to share the love of Jesus. In the clutter and chaos of the world, we can celebrate together that we are beloved children of God. Unpacking the COVID-19 boxes is still a challenge. But whether in-person or online, Jesus has set a place for you. This is our home in Christ.