I know it’s several days since Sukkot ended for this year and I’m just now sitting down to compose my final thoughts. This is because. Sukkot ended as I entered the two days of getting my daughter settled into her dorm and then leaving NYC in the middle of the night. The emotional and physical drain was too much and I didn’t have the mental focus to sit down and write anything coherent. Either I would start crying or I would fall asleep. Thank you for your patience.
I’m still processing everything from last week both as it relates to my life overall and as it relates to what God has been teaching me about Sukkot. The thing I keep coming back to is how temporary our life is.
The Jewish people lived in the Wilderness for 40 years which seems like a very long time in theory, but I look back on my life which is a bit over 40 years and wonder how the time flies and where it all went! My oldest child is 20 and it seems like he was a baby in my arms just yesterday.
I know I don’t always value the day I’m in. I have spent a lot of time looking back and looking forward. I think that really started to change when I started observing all of the major Biblical Feasts and Festivals. They offer a structure for thinking back and forward with a purpose – remembering and planning, grieving and hoping – throughout the year. They really are a gift that God has given us and I am so grateful for them. Even weekly Shabbat is an opportunity to sit and remind myself that God’s got it all under control and I don’t need to be in control of everything.
This past few years I’ve learned a lot about plans (what we want to do) and goals (putting timelines to those plans) and being reasonable in both of those things. I’ve gotten better about realizing when my goals are unrealistic by simply accepting when life brings about clear circumstances to challenge my plans. I had a plan to accomplish something financial that was large but do-able over the next year and then the dentist told me two of my children need extensive dental work. Okay, so the financial goals get extended. I’ve learned to roll with that because it does no good to get too wrapped up in the goal or the change. That’s just life.
I think this is one of the things we’re supposed to consider when we dwell in a sukkah for a week. I think this is one of the inherent lessons in the idea that the Israelites lived in tents and moved whenever the Lord moved. I imagine how efficient I would get at packing and moving the house if it happened multiple times over 40 years and then I think about all of the times I’ve packed our home and moved us over the last 20 years. It’s quite possible that the Israelites moved less times than we have and that’s a sobering thought!
It’s time to prepare for the next move. I thought it would be in a year – it’s part of what I suspect has shifted to 2 years if I’m being realistic. I’d love for God to make it sooner, but I’m settled in and not willing to rush things. If I’m perfectly honest I’d like to move to NYC. I fell in love with it and my health issues that stem from living in the desert all cleared up while I was there. This is going to require a lot of planning and a lot of decluttering. We have way more stuff than we can put into anywhere in NYC that we could hope to live. So I’m decluttering. Relentlessly!
And at the same time I’m very aware that God might decide to move us somewhere else. I’m leaving the destination to the Lord. I’m finally comfortable doing that! I trust that if we prepare ourselves and our belongings to move to NYC and God has a different destination in mind then the work I’m doing will have been required for that move too. I’m good with that. I’m embracing the temporary nature of life and it’s helping me become content.
Maybe that’s the big lesson I really learned this year.