Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Moving on Pioneer Day

For the last month I have been living between two homes. That means attending two different wards, and alternating homes from which I commute to work. I would take a few things from the old house to the new one every time I made the trip. In the process I had to select those items I thought we would need most. Inevitably there would be something we needed that we had not yet moved. So I’d make a note to retrieve that item on our next trip. I started to think about the saints leaving Nauvoo. Progress was slow and some saints found the time and opportunity to send someone back to their old home to retrieve something they forgot or decided they would need after all. The practice became so wide spread that Brigham Young even took the time to discourage it.

But on Saturday - Pioneer day – that came to an end. On Saturday we officially moved. I rented a truck and a few of my friends from each ward gathered to move the largest of the remaining items. Friends from the old ward gathered in the morning. It short order we loaded the beds, couches, and appliances I couldn’t move by myself over the last several weeks. We ate lunch, and reminisced about the last few years together. We shared parting gifts and experienced that rite of passage that helps us all deal with friends moving far away.

After our friends left, I drove the loaded truck south to the new home with my 12-year-old son riding in the cab with me. I was looking forward to this part. I moved a great deal when I was younger. My father was in the U. S. Navy. I don’t think I ever lived in a home more than three years. But family driving trips, including the moves, were always an opportunity to get one-on-one time with Dad. We each took our turns sitting at “shotgun”. Our job was to talk with Dad so he didn’t fall asleep at the wheel. If you were lucky he would share his stash of lemon drops from the glove compartment. I was always lucky. This time, however, my son fell asleep. It had been a long day already. Maybe I should have offered him some lemon drops.

Later that evening, after the heat of the day was over, friends from the new ward gathered to unload at the new home. The beds, couches, and appliances unloaded quickly. But it was more than just the task on which we worked. We ate dinner and got to know each other better. I learned about the house I was moving into: who built it and why he eventually moved out. Even the electrician we called on Monday asked “is that so-and-so’s house?” when I gave him the address. Of course, it was. Even though he hadn’t lived there in over 10 years, it would always be his house.

I have been part of many Elders Quorum moving service projects. Some have gone well, others turned out a little less organized than ideal. But the ones I have enjoyed the most have not been about how much was boxed up before we arrived. It was about working with friends, both old and new.

In my sanitized and idealized view of history that is what the pioneers had. They moved with friends and family, helping each other out. Some were more organized than others; more prepared than others. But it was together. There were opportunities to help those who needed it. Pioneer day, in one sense, was the ultimate Elders Quorum moving service project.

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