They say that all beginnings are hard. Maybe it’s true. They always are for me.
Here’s a tidbit about me: I am the worst person at moving. On the planet. Believe me. They did a study, and it was me.
And a second tidbit: I have to sob during every exciting event.
This is how it all melts down.
At 7:30, I get out of bed and get a shower. I am up so early! I have tons of time! I can sit on the couch and drink some coffee and watch the Fierce Five on the Today show. Look, Jordyn Wieber is doing the weather!
At about 8:15, I think that I may need to put a couple things in the car. But I need to finish assembling a care package for my friend.
At 9:00, it is time to pack the car. There are only a few things! Not many at all! I will get them packed within ten minutes!
It’s fine until I see the laptop bag, the new camera, the twelve books I’ve forgotten to pack, the bag of documents with our Social Security numbers on them that I meant to take to Staples to shred, the French press, the seven pairs of shoes, the care package for my friend that just that morning I was still assembling. The electric keyboard pedal. The two California guidebooks.
I start cramming them in, shoving them in any nook and cranny. They will not fit. I start making piles of things to leave behind at Josh’s mom’s, when we get back there in three years or so.
“Are you almost ready?” Josh asks me at 10:00, the time we are supposed to leave. “I wish I would have known you had stuff to do so that I could have helped you.”
I cram my flip-flops and the piano pedal into the side of the backseat. “I didn’t know I had all of this! It just keeps coming! I just keep turning around, and there’s more there!”
At 10:20, I get in and tell Josh to pile the things on top of me. Care package. Cat carrier. Purse. Laptop bag. You can still see my head, thankfully. The cat looks at me like she has always known that the long-haired human is insane, and this is the final proof.
“It’s not that bad,” I tell Josh, but I can’t even finish the sentence with a straight face. “I’ve got lots of room!”
We set out on the interstate, drive about ten minutes. “I hate this trip,” he says.
“I’m sorry,” I tell Josh. “It’s okay,” he says.
“I love you,” I say, patting his arm. He smiles back.
“I’m sorry,” I say.
It’s about then that I start to sob.
I cry at times I should be happy. Not happy-crying. Actual huge sobs of sadness. The first day I was in London for a six week backpacking and study abroad trip. A college senior trip to Toronto. Various high school band trips. My birthday last year, when I was in San Juan on a cruise. My birthday this year, after a perfectly lovely celebration with friends.
“I just wanted everything to be good,” I say between breaths. “Now we’re late to meet Josh and Mary, and I’ve ruined it from the beginning!”
“Annnd. Annnd. We’re moving to California and we don’t know anybody and I don’t have a job. And I miss your mom!” The cat comes over to me to decide whether she should comfort me. She bites my finger.
“Annnd. I miss hanging out with your mom and we’re not going to see her ever and I like your mom! And she likes me!”
“And I am so emotional on the first day of our road trip!”
“And…and…this is why women shouldn’t be pastors!” I say between breaths. Josh guffaws.
I look at him and smile and start laughing, big choking laughs that sound almost like sobs. I laugh, and Josh laughs, and the cat keeps looking at one of us and then the other.
The tears are nearly indistinguishable from the laughter.
The gray clouds have opened up outside. Rain falls on our windshield, big drops. “Well, at least it’s a beautiful day,” Josh says.
I snort again. I wipe my hand across my wet face. And we laugh.
And I reach for his hand as we drive ahead.
* The first line is from my Old Testament professor from seminary. She was probably referring to, you know, the fall of humanity from Eden, but I like to appropriate it for whatever situation I’m going through at the moment.