Sunday, November 29, 2009

Moving on

I helped the Shaw family pack their moving van last night. The university that Glen is going to didn't allow much for moving expenses so he rented 16 ft of a moving van. Some of the Lopez boys were there helping pack the van. They are strong (Larry can lift 300 pounds easily) and gentle (there are 11 kids in their family and the oldest boys are so sweet to the little ones..... and to women...though they were kind to me and accepted my suggestions, I could tell that they thought I shouldn't have to help load a moving is something that their mom and sisters don't do...but I am friends with the Shaw's and I needed to be there so that I could give them my time as a token of my fondness for them) and they took especially good care of the possessions that they could tell meant the most to Anna Shaw. We had a good time. We all started swapping stories about how many times we have moved. It seems that moving is something we were all good at.

Moving on is another matter entirely. I remember going through culture shock for the first time and realizing that misunderstanding the people around me was not nearly as bad as being uncertain about how to be the person I was. Being one who drives up the canyon to listen to a river that is larger than the problems of the day is irrelevant in a place where "hiking" is walking down a paved and possibly hilly path in a city park. I started knitting instead and as soon as I got back to a place with real mountains, I realized I hate knitting, and I have never gone back to it.

So much harder than leaving behind the ways of being me, has been leaving behind the people in my life. They become a part of who I am and then suddenly they are gone and the places they occupied become like ghost towns in a Ray Bradbury story, houses conditioned by the habits and personalities of their precious inhabitants that keep functioning as though someone still lived there. It's strange to realize that there are cells in my brain that have been owned by another person more than by myself. As I have tried to sweep away the hollow husks of relationships that are no longer possible, I have found that there is little I can do, or not do to directly deal with them. But there are solutions to everything, even if they come from an unexpected direction.

President Monson is always encouraging people to serve each other. For his birthday, that was the only thing he wanted, that people do kind things for each other. I have been working on doing this. While I have always been willing to serve when asked, that simply wasn't good enough. I had to start identifying needs and addressing them without being asked. I had to look and reach outside of myself to help others. Doing this has changed and mended me. While I am not that different in most ways, I feel as though my hard drive has been reformatted and equipped with a different operating system. It has stamped an identity of "Miriam Barlow" on every cell in my body and that identity is not dependent on a particular location or the company of a particular person. An identity of helping others is something that I can take with me wherever I go, and it is something that I can use in any situation.

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