On the morning the moving truck was coming to my parents’ house in MD to move my things to Oregon in 2009 Mommy was so upset bc she couldn’t find the set of silverware she wanted to give me. So she consoled herself by going to the store that morning with Tanpo and purchasing a nice set of Oneida for me to use in my apartment. Thanks, Mom!
When I wanted to go to Africa Mommy and I had an ongoing conversation re. Do we pack the teacups, or leave the teacups?
Answer: I’m not going to Africa. We left the teacups.
Actually, we left almost everything, not just the teacups, in Oregon. I dreaded seeing my things again. Since I left so suddenly I did not have to think about Oregon or what I left behind for the most part. But it’s the little things – like the coffee mugs I used every morning, and my beautiful Spode serving dishes – that break my heart because they represent the routine I will always miss and the lifestyle that is not mine right now.
Thankfully, the job of clearing out my storage garage was made easy for me. A missionary family recently returned to Oregon was able to use many of the larger items, and my church carried away the rest for their annual “garage sale” that benefits their camp. This was a win-win situation for me. I couldn’t have asked for an easier way to dispose of my things or worthier destinations.
Happily, most things were wrapped in paper by the packers when they emptied my old apartment in June 2011. So I was able to dismiss entire boxes labeled “fragile” – I didn’t want to see those things anyway. I could have insisted that we bring everything home to MD – but there was no reason. If my teacups came home it would be to take up space in my parents’ basement until I was ready to move into my own place again. Since there is no timeline for that kind of life-change I figured it was better to just leave everything.
I wept over the mountain of shoes that fell out of the bottom of a wardrobe box. All my pretty shoes were dried and cracked from three years in a non climate-controlled environment. And as I struggled to reach into another wardrobe box (a tall one – so you can only reach midway in) to grab a couple of my favorite pillowcases my face crumpled up with frustration and sadness.
Mommy came over to help me and I managed to grab one pillowcase. These were a set of two that I bought in Singapore many moons ago – a fine cotton tinted a delicate pink with white embroidery on the edges. But as I held the one I had managed to snag and remembered that I owned such an item and how much I enjoyed things like making up a bed with fresh linens I realized that my pillowcase was no longer pink. It had been stained and faded over time. I tossed it back into the box and told Mommy resolutely, I don’t need any of this.
Corrie Ten Boom knew it was only a matter of time before she would be caught and imprisoned for hiding Jews in her home and her role in the Dutch Resistance during WWII. Her whole family understood the consequences if they were caught but continued to open their home to people who needed a safe place anyway.
One of Corrie’s sisters (who was married and had her own family) had already spent some time in prison and based on her experience Corrie packed a tiny suitcase to bring with her when the SS showed up at the Beje (the house she shared with her father and sister) to haul them away.
In went a Bible, some clothes, vitamins and pills for Betsy (her frail sister), and as many other things as the small bag would hold. Corrie thought of it as her talisman against the horrors of prison.
On the night she was arrested, however, the prison bag was resting against the panel of the “secret room” in which 6 people had rapidly packed themselves when the SS raided the Beje. Corrie, bleary-eyed and suffering from the flu, rallied her wits and answered the rough guard’s questions. When he told her to go downstairs to be questioned with her father and sister she reached for her prison bag – but oh no! it was leaning against the part of the room she most wanted to conceal from notice.
“It was the hardest thing I had ever done to turn and walk out of that room, leaving the bag behind,” she says in retrospect (The Hiding Place, ch. 9). I have always been horrified by the moment when Corrie must abandon her bag. She had done what she could to prepare for prison life by packing that bag, but had to sacrifice it at the last moment. The rest of the book, however, chronicles God’s miraculous provision in the bleakest of circumstances – where personal items were contraband, and prisoners were unable to conceal anything especially bc of the degrading physical inspections – but He orchestrates the details to bypass these concerns. In the end, the Lord provides everything she needs not only to survive, but to thrive.