As I was resting from the seemingly endless mound of boxes, bags and more boxes that needed sorted, put away, given away or delegated to the burn pile, I came across this article on the psychological effects of moving on a family. Moving is frequently cited as one of the most stressful life events, after the death of a loved one, divorce or illness. According to Galen Tinder, senior consultant with relocation agency Ricklin-Echikson Associates, Inc., “selling a house, securing housing in the new location, packing and transporting family goods and the
endless tasks of ‘settling in,’” are all hard work, but perhaps the most stressful part of moving is the acceptance of permanent change. “Nearly every aspect of common family life changes: daily routines, schools, community associations, friendships, even the physical landscape,” says Tinder. This disruption in everyday life can manifest itself in a range of reactions. “Shock, anger, anxiety, sadness, fear, confusion and disorientation” are a few of the common emotions felt by new movers, says William Bridges, Ph.D., an acclaimed expert
on transitional management and author of several books on the topic. Add to these feelings the chaos of unpacking boxes-
In her book, Making the Big Move: How to Transform Relocation into a Creative Life Transition (New Harbinger Publications, 1999), Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., explains how moving is a significant life transition that forces people to reconsider their identities. “Most people recognize that marriage, divorce, graduation and childbirth are significant life transitions … marked by ceremonies and rituals, such as weddings, funerals and graduations. Moving can be an equally significant life transition, but there are no ceremonies to mark its passage.”
“No ceremonies to mark its passage” h-m-m-, considering how I am believing my return home to be THE LAST TIME I WILL EVER DO THIS…pardon the all caps, I have come up with my own version of a transition ceremony that celebrates my efforts of the past twenty years to bring life to each place I have lived. I will plant various shrubs, flowers, trees etc. to commemorate the places I have lived, and the people who have been so much a part of my life. As I have pondered the different landscapes I have raised my children through, beautiful, scented memories come flooding back to me: Yellow roses, pine trees, deep purple lilacs, red clover, weeping willows, shaking aspens, Italian prunes, strawberries, french tarragon, lavender and spearmint. The joy of gardening these places of transition has given me a delightful expectation that was once only dread, and weariness.
God commanded memorials and markers to be erected in the transitory life of the Israelites. Commemorations of the pain and hope of transition. From one life, to another. Each time they passed by they were to speak of them to their children’s children’s children…I hope I can do the same, as I fill my generations arms and hearts with the scent of beauty from chaos, hope from loss, and a sense of home for their wanderings.