For the first twenty years we were married, we moved almost once a year, so we got used to packing up all our belongings and rearranging them somewhere else.
This time, though, we're getting rid of everything we possibly can. We're storing a dozen boxes or so in friends' garages and attics, and our son has furnished his apartment with bookshelves, tables and chairs he's grown up with. The cat is flying to New York with one daughter, and we'll ship a few boxes of comics and DVDs to the other daughter in Washington, but most of the books, furniture, kitchenware and bric-a-brac we've surrounded ourselves with will be going back to the Salvation Army from whence they came.
It's not easy saying goodbye to belongings we've loved. I've managed to get rid of three boxes of Christmas decorations, four overflowing boxes of sewing and knitting materials, five boxes vintage items I've cherished for their beauty and function, and countless books we've loved for years and years. Boxing Day had new meaning this year.
The process is getting easier as we get closer to our deadline, though. The sheer volume of belongings to pack makes us value our precious treasures for what they really are: things that someone else might be able to use (or, honestly, trash. We've taken far more trips to the dumpster than I like to think about).
A few more meals, another carload of boxes to our son's apartment and our friends' garages, several trips to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, and the Redwood Gospel Mission thrift stores nearby, and we can give the apartment manager our key. We'll drive our ten-year-old minivan with some clothes, a little camping gear, and three different kinds of maps toward Las Vegas and into 2016 where God has (we trust) some amazing adventures waiting for us.
And at the end of the year, even if all the boxes we've stored with friends are destroyed, we hope to have stored up treasures in heaven -- where they belong.