Moving Our Stuff

Yesterday, I met a woman who recently moved to the Village of Florida. From Alaska. Next to my staying home, her action was avantgarde. But come to think of it, I also know of a young family who moved from New York City to Ireland. And two days ago, an acquaintance told me she’s moving to Hawaii. Well, well, a pretty much global shutdown means we can still be safe and move.

The movees have one thing in common. Downsizing. They happily left behind “stuff” to take on new adventures, new positions in life.

Twelve years ago, my husband, Doug, and I prepared to move from Washington state to New York. Exactly this time of the year. At the beginning of “garage sale” season.

“Hey, Cheryl, the neighbor is having a garage sale today. He said we could put some of our stuff on his lawn,” Doug told me, as I sat in my pjs, sipping from a coffee cup.

Doug took a few nick knacks from shelves and sauntered out the door to the neighbors. He returned for items from the kitchen, then stayed at the neighbors to help with his sale. While I finished breakfast and got dressed.

Soon, Doug dashed back into our house and said, “Wow, it’s busy at the neighbors. So many buyers. Come on, help me carry our sofa outside. We can just put it in our own lawn. The buyers will come over here.”

“Um, are you over doing it?” I asked as I reluctantly carried my end of our sofa outside. “Don’t we want a sofa in New York?”

After plopping the sofa down, I noticed the people. Garage sale lovers, galore. Wandering over the dewy lawn, searching and calculating and deliberating.

Doug and I hauled a few more things outside as requests shouted through the air, “Got some tools? How about an extra pair of boots? My kid needs a bike.” It got to the point where I just brought serious buyers into the house. One savvy lady, looked in on my unmade bed and said, “I’ll buy that bed and let you use it until the day you move before picking it up.”

Sold.

Needless to say, the three-thousand-mile move to New York occurred with a lot less burden.

In the twelve years since, we haven’t missed a thing. Except. Except, I’ve thought a few times about one picture. It was only a print but worth a lot in sentiment. It’s an image of Daniel standing serenely upright in a lion’s den. Each lion represents a character, of say, hate, fear, envy, revenge, vanity, cowardice, but all unable to move Daniel who is standing still, yet moving in a mind of a humble powerful truth of life, indescribable yet real.

That image shouldered me through a deeply troubling time of self-doubt and loneliness. I was going to bring the picture to New York.

But at the garage sale, I’d taken a woman into the house to show her a dresser. “Follow me, the dresser is in the back room. Sorry for the mess,” blah, blah, I blathered. Until I noticed that she had stopped in front of the picture of Daniel, hanging on the wall in the hall. I stopped. My mouth closed. I observed.

As she began deciphering the many meanings brought about through the image, her face showed a mixture of near-tears relief and recognition of a hope possibly regained after believing it lost.

“Would you sell this?” she asked solemnly.

“To you, yes, five bucks,” I said.

“I’ll pay your more,” she said.

“No. Our deal is to remember we’re not alone and we’re always loved.”

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