Friday, August 14, 2009

Packing, Closing, and "On the Road" -- Day 1

This past Sunday was our final Divine Liturgy before the move to New York. St. Herman of Alaska, pictured to the right, was the saint commemorated on that day (for revised Julian churches), and I felt it a fitting day for our "farewell." St. Herman has always been an inspiration to me; as someone who sought and seeks to serve the Church in a missionary capacity (foreign or domestic), St. Herman was a pivotal saint in my entry into the Church, for in him I saw a man wholly devoted to living an authentic, Christian life in an area where such a life was unknown and, thus, witnessing to and spreading the saving life of Christ. This story concerning his life comes back to me often:
"Father Herman was once invited aboard a ship that had docked in Kodiak and during a conversation with those on board he asked them what it was that would bring them the most happiness. Some wanted wealth, others wanted a top ranking job in the Navy another wanted a beautiful wife etc. 'What could be better, higher, more worthy of love and more splendid than Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who created the world, adorns, gives life, sustains, nourishes and loves everything - Who is Himself love. Should we not love God above all things, and wish for and seek Him?' The reply was, 'Why that's obvious, how can we not love God?' And Father Herman responded 'I, a poor sinner, have been trying to learn how to love God for more than 40 years, and I cannot say that I yet love Him properly. If we love someone, we always remember them, we try to please them continually. Day and night we are concerned about them. Our mind and our heart is concerned with the object of our love. How do you love God? Do you turn to Him often? Do you always remember Him? Do you always pray to Him and keep His commandments?' The crew admitted that they did not. 'Then, for our good and for our happiness, let us all make a vow: at least from this day, this hour, this very minute, we should strive to love God above all else and do His will!'" (H/T to St. Herman's Orthodox Church, Fairbanks AL).
We rented the Penske truck on Monday and began loading it up. This was the first time we had ever done something like this, so we followed the advice of a knowledgeable man from our parish: Pack all the way up to the top in the very front of the bed. When that's done, start a new "level," packing all the way to the top. Pack it so tight that you can't fit a piece of paper in between any of the boxes." Between that and some ratchet straps to hold some random items that don't fit properly anywhere, I'm thankful to say that not a thing looks like it's moved from where a half dozen of us put things after a full day of driving, thanks be to God. And MANY thanks to the Rovny boys, John, Brad and Charles for their help in packing the truck. Also, ever ready to help, was my mother, whose boundless energy amazes me; this is a woman who works with 2-4 year olds all day, every day, and has energy to spare afterwards to come help us box up things in the evenings, sweep up a garage, etc. Let me be clear in saying that we would not have been packed up and ready to go in time for our deadline had she not been helping us. She is also accompanying the girls in the van while I drive the Penske truck.

Ah, the Penske truck. Twenty-six feet of driving pleasure, plus the added bonus of a trailer for towing my pickup. There's definitely a learning curve involved with driving one of these things, but all in all, it's not qualitatively different from driving, say, a large van. You have to take into account that it doesn't accelerate as quickly nor stop as quickly, but mostly the same rules apply regarding how to position yourself in your lane, how to change lanes, etc. Our normal travel pattern is to drive most of the way (or, sometimes, all the way) to Kentucky in one day, which kills pretty much everyone involved. Today we drove around six or seven hours, which will be what we do for the next few days. This, to me, is an excellent budget of driving time per day, as we're not exhausted at the end of the day.

Closing on the house went off without a hitch (moving truck pun not intended). We are so very thankful to God for this blessing, as we are not in the least bit entitled to His making it this much easier for us to "make a clean break" and head up to New York. It is a strange thing, being "homeless." You can read my wife's newly resurrected blog post HERE for her thoughts on this and other things, as well.

Please keep us all in your prayers as we travel and make adjustments to our new life as a seminarian family in New York. Our insurance scare (see wife's blog for details) has been resolved satisfactorily for now; again, God is "doubly good" to us where He does not have to be "singly good" in the first place. Thanks be to Him.

A blessed feast to all. An excellent festal meditation is HERE. Please pray for incoming and current Antiochian seminarians.


s-p said...

Safe journey and blessed semester. I both envy you and I don't (...hmmm, that's kinda Orthodox, isn't it? :)

David said...

I know first-hand what those cross-country trips are like; be safe and take it easy!

Ian Climacus said...

Prayers ascending from Down Under. Safe travels.

And thank you for that wonderful extract from the life of St Herman of Alaska: an encouargement and challenge.

Darlene said...

God speed in your travels! I will hold you and yours in my prayers.