top of page

Moving: Where to Begin

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

The Idea of Rightsizing

Today I welcome Susan Gardner as a contributing author on a series of articles about moving. Whether you're moving cross-country to "be closer to the grandkids," finally going to your dream home, or finally going to a retirement community, you have to move. As our author would say, you get to "pick up every single item and put it somewhere else." Susan's expertise in this area is hard won. Enjoy this series.

-Ed Zinkiewicz

When we have one major change in our lives, it is common to have others close by, like dominoes falling. With retirement often comes a move, if not immediately, then eventually. Moving, even for the best of reasons, is one of life’s major stressors. Not only is the physical mountain of work moving creates hard to climb, but also coming into play with this change are often-unrecognized mental, emotional and spiritual dynamics. In this first article, I will lay the groundwork for positive changes, starting with some of those underlying issues.

Finding a Role Model

My teacher about positive change came early in my ministry. Mother Harris, whom I met just prior to her 100th birthday, was virtually blind and deaf, yet she was able to establish new relationships. She not only knew when I had come to visit, but she also recounted to her son our conversations. From her son and daughter-in-law, I learned her story of resilience and self-control over her changing circumstances.

As a widow in her middle years, she moved in with them while they were both in professional careers and rearing two small children. She made this three-generation household a delight with positive attitudes, loving spirit and efficient care. Later, as her son and daughter-in-law approached retirement, Mother Harris said one day, “I know that when you retire you’ll want to travel and have time without being concerned for my well-being. I found a nice place to move to that is nearby. I’ll be near you and my friends.” Her daughter-in-law said they hadn’t even considered this possibility, but they were appreciative of her thoughtfulness towards them.

Years later, when the couple was building a house on the daughter-in-law’s home place in Tennessee, Mother Harris once again maintained control over her own destiny as her health was declining. She asked them to find an appropriate place for her to move into near their new home, saying, “I don’t want you to have to come back to Georgia to care for me, and I’ll be able to adjust to a new place just fine.” It was in this place, a nursing home, where I met her and came to love her unconquerable spirit.