Downsizing

Today we put our house on the market. This is a major change in anyone’s life, but is truly a major shift for Jan and me, because this change is all about downsizing. This is probably the last single family home that we will ever own, and it has been the best home we have ever lived in, now for these last 15 years.It has been an amazing home, sharing life with our daughters, filled with friends and strangers, love and laughter!

It has been a grueling month of organizing and work since we reached the decision to simplify our lives by moving into a smaller, single floor apartment. It has been hard physical labor for both of us, hauling bins and going through and consolidating boxes to empty closets, drawers and cupboards, carrying furniture and boxes up and down staircases, first to sell in a garage sale, then to donate to ARC, and now to move into a storage unit. But at least as hard as the physical work has been the emotional work of deciding what will fit in our new place that will be one/third the size of this home, what to sell or donate, and what we are ready to say goodbye to after 40 years of marriage and earlier family lives before that. And inevitably, at times it has put stresses on our relationship as we face the reality of occasionally differing perspectives about the benefit of continuing to carry certain items with us, or about strategic decisions we need to make, or about our use of time as we prepare for these changes. And added to all of this, we have had to deal with the realities of Jan’s Parkinson’s Disease that make once easy tasks much harder for her and stops her from doing what she has always done.

However, throughout this time, we have found ourselves carried by family, friends and our faith community who have given generously of their concern, their time and even physical labor. Jan’s brother came from California for three days to help us pull off a successful garage sale, and my two sisters came from the Midwest to help us pack, clean and generally reduce the accumulated clutter. Our daughter Annika has come down from Boulder numerous times to help pack, recruiting groups of her friends to help in the process. Our nephew Steve has been a workhorse carrying heavy boxes and doing whatever needs to be done. Claudia, Diana and Vikki have helped pack boxes and prepare for the sale, and Terry and Steve from the men’s study group have been generous with their time and pickup trucks to help move things to storage. Jan’s friends have helped us immeasurably. A neighbor baked us two batches of cookies! So many people have extended love to us in so many different ways that it has literally picked us up when we have felt we could not do one more thing.

What I am saying in all of this is that this exhausting process has also been a very real demonstration of how God’s love plays out in the world. People helping people in very tangible ways. Jan and I are very grateful to everyone who has played a role in this process, whether physically or in other ways, and providing words of encouragement and holding us in your prayers. Thank you for helping make God’s love tangible to us through this transition in our lives. Thank you for showing how Jesus’ mercy changes me, we and the world!

Loving God, 

Thank you for giving us the gift of community in the many forms it takes – family, friends, church family and neighbors who may not even know us at all. Help us to keep our eyes open for signs of your mercy that surround us, as well as for opportunities where we can be the people who are extending caring to others and showing how Jesus’ mercy changes me, we and the world. Give us the strength to offer what we can to others, whether it is our time, our truck, our encouragement and prayers, or home-made cookies! Help us to both to see and to share your love in tangible ways. Amen.

David Erickson-Pearson

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