We’re smack dab in the middle of a cross-country relocation at this most wonderful time of the year. Every moment is sacred. This is the last time we’ll do this or that family tradition in this place with these people. Next year, we’ll be in a place where snow never falls, coats are unnecessary, and we’re not surrounded by familiar faces. We’ve been here for seventeen years, so yanking out the roots is excruciating.

I’m overwhelmed with emotion repeatedly as I do these things for a final time. A flush of heartache wells up from my chest, blushes my cheekbones, and leaks into my eyes, filling them with tears as I cherish the moment and contemplate how precious these everyday small things have become. Yet they must now be abandoned. Lunch breaks with my dear daughter, coffee in the afternoon. Other children a brief flight away. Family gathered in this house, within these walls where they were children and adolescents. These won’t occur here again.

I cry a lot.

Moving is excruciating.

In the middle of these heartaches, I often think of people who suffer as refugees, how their resettling is far less orderly than mine. As they run from their homes with a few possessions stuffed into a pillowcase or bag, with children in arms, perhaps leaving their dead behind them, that feeling of it-will-never-be-the-same-after-this is far more excruciating, far more final. Remembering these sufferers and contemplating the ease of my own move in comparison is a frequent meditation. My heart aches for them!

Our children are all grown now. We’ll establish new traditions in a new place with them. It will be weird, awkward, and strange, even though we move toward beloved family members in our new place. We’ll push into the weirdness, make the transition, and implement the new. We’ve done it before.

Nothing will be the same, but our move is slow and deliberate, taking five months from interview to furniture on the ground in the new house. We have time to adjust, time to slowly grow used to the idea, to plan, to implement a strategy, and to talk together as a family about how we want this to look.

A relocation causes us to evaluate the traditions we keep. Which are essential? Which do we want to continue? What do we want this to look like? How can we maintain family ties? It also causes us to recognize the sacredness of each moment we spend with our family. Nothing should ever be taken for granted. Ever. We do not know, really, if this is the last year for this or for that, for grandma or for grandpa, for you or for me.

Aren’t all our moments with our families sacred? Isn’t every interaction with those we love a gift from God? Shouldn’t all be cherished, savored, and held dear?

Yes! This is one of the most powerful and enduring results of relocating, a lesson that can often only be learned the hard way.

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