On the Move
Well…we are moving again.
“We” in this instance is not a reference to Braid but to the Chase family. We have moved several times over the years owing to a sense of being called by The Divine to a new mission or ministry. In this case, however, we have joined the masses of Bay Area residents who are needing to relocate owing to housing costs. But, we are not moving far, just from Albany to Vallejo. As a result I spent much of Memorial Day Weekend packing boxes.
Now, packing is not an altogether unwelcome event in and of itself. There is something edifying about culling out that which no longer needs to be carried on the journey of life; something fun about being able to stop and look at photos long unseen; having time to reflect on items that reflect the time and place in which they were bought. So, I spent much of the weekend reflecting on my life and counting the blessings, recounting the valleys, and marking the turns.
We are actually not moving for another month, but I took the weekend to begin the transition and, again, had the luxury of time to reflect and remember. And, we will continue to pack and box and cull over the next four weeks. And more memories will be unearthed, and more blessings remembered, and more of the markers of the journey of life rolled in newspaper and placed in a box.
It was after I taped another box on Sunday that I stopped to check my email. I found a message forwarded to me from Rebecca Edwards that included a photo.
In the photo were two of our favorite people both of whom were graduating from City College, Ka’Tina and Ethan. Over the last few years these two have been an inspiration to us. They have gifted us with their stories. They have provided counsel and wisdom. We regard them with a deep sense of gratitude and respect them enormously.
Seeing their photo brought a big smile to my face and internal shouts of “congratulations” and “alleluia” rattled around my soul. Then I glanced at the pile of boxes in my living room and a thought came to mind. One of my first interactions with Ka’Tina was while she was a docent at the Foster Youth Museum when that museum was being exhibited at Grace Cathedral.
As a docent Ka’Tina walked me around the museum, which consists both of photos and articles. One of the first photos in the museum is of a young woman who is sitting on some nondescript steps with a look of forlorn remembering, as though she was trying to find place. In her hand she is holding a clear trash bag with all her belongings. A clear trash bag so that her life’s collection of clothes and toiletries were on display for all to see.
When I asked Ka’Tina about the photo she responded that the photo was the experience of so many foster youth, the trash bag being the suitcase of choice of human services agencies when youth are being removed from their home or placement.
No time to reflect. No time to cull with care. No time to remember. Only the unreal experience of having life summed up in a clear trash bag. With no sense of place.
The contrast was not lost on me this Memorial Day Weekend. For you see, while I had the luxury of a few months to plan a move and execute a move and had the luxury to reflect and remember as I prepared for that move, I was reminded that this may not be the experience for many of our friends who have had the experience of foster care. Including the youth with whom we walk.