When life fits in a cardboard box

Warning to my reader(s): This entry is very rambly. I wanted to put down what I’ve been thinking, but I intentionally didn’t take a lot of time to organize it. This is the way my thought process has worked, lately, and I wanted to share it with you as it is in my head.

So as of starting to write this post, I leave in 10 days 19 hours 23 minutes. I won’t insult my reader(s) by pretending that anyone reading my thoughts here is ignorant of where I’m going and why; I’m well aware that I don’t exactly have a wide readership. It is a sobering experience to pack up ones life.

This is not the first time I have moved. In the 14 years since I left my parents’ house, I have done so several times. I moved to New York for school; I left a chunk of my life behind at their house. I moved back to the parents’ house. I moved to my condo in Tampa. I moved to my house in Tampa; that was the first time that I really developed my own space – and it was a bit of a mess. I sold the house, and I moved to the abbey. That didn’t end well. I left the abbey, and moved in with a friend for a few months. I moved to Tampa (with the current TheRoommate), and we have changed apartments a few times.

This move is somehow different. I’m getting rid of quite a lot of my life. I am leaving things behind… all my furniture, my TV, all my old computer equipment, tools, my cat, and – in a way different from previous moves – just about everyone I love. This is the first time that I’m moving that I’m aware that I will be unlikely to return for anything more than a brief visit.

I’m aware that it’s possible that my time in formation will prematurely end. If that happens, I’m not al together sure where I will go. I haven’t exactly prepared contingency plans this time. I’ve thought about it, but I don’t have anything meaningful lined up. I’m going to seminary putting all my eggs in that basket. If I do not make it to the end – or if I find that is not where God truly wants me – I will be starting over with everything in life. We’ll just have to find out where God brings me if that happens.

So the box, then. After getting rid of much of my junk (and all of my furniture), I’ve come to the conclusion that everything I own could be packed up into a small hall closet. I’m not sure if that is good or bad or anything, really. More than that, I’m not really sure how much of this stuff is anything more than junk. Several of the items I have kept are certainly junk, but, for one reason or another, they are special to me, and I can’t bring myself to get rid of them.

In leaving my life as I know it today, I find myself trying to think back on my life for the last 14 years and pondering what I’ve done and what legacy I’ve left. That’s the sobering part. I’ve used it several times when I’m speaking for groups, but the first 8 years or so of that, I left no legacy at all. I went to culinary school (where I ignored God); I worked in restaurants a little (where I ignored God); I went back to school (where I mostly ignored God); I worked in computers (where I seriously ignored God). I was asked by a friend (still a close friend) in that time what kind of difference I was planning to make in the world. I tried to spin that I was making a difference, but I knew (as she did) that I was blowing smoke. My life was, at that time, wasted and meaningless.

At that time, though, I started trying to make a difference. The problem is, it’s always hard to know if I really have. I mean, to be honest, I know I have affected some people in a good way – at least that’s what they tell me, but there are others that I think of who have fallen, and I keep wondering if I could have or should have done more or done something differently. There are some who I question if I did more harm than good by my presence at all. It’s a question I’ve sought to answer, and I just don’t know how.

One of the questions on my application for admission to formation asked if I wanted to change the world or save souls. I guess my problem is that I really want to do both. In many cases, I find I want to change the world for one person at a time. It can be difficult to not know if that was successful – or if I just looked kooky.

Oh well. I guess I really just have to realize that God is in control, and it’s his job, not mine. Now I just have to actually remember that.

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