By Jane Sloan
In the days surrounding September 1st, students descend upon Boston and move truckloads of possessions from one apartment or dorm to another. BC locals refer to this weekend as the Allston-Brighton Christmas, which means several things. First, it is the worst weekend to drive anywhere in Boston. (Take yesterday, for example, when a yellow Jeep with two confused students at the helm tore the wrong way down a one-way street. Theirs was not a Massachusetts license plate.) Second, movers-in leave a plethora of items on the curbside for others to pillage. The adage “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” rings true during Allston-Brighton Christmas, as well-loved (or let’s be honest, completely and utterly abused) flotsam and jetsam are discarded by some and picked up by others.
There is a culminating moment in every student’s moving process. After the key boxes make it into the rented truck, he or she stands before the remaining possessions, calculating their weight and volume with a critical eye, takes a swig of Purple Thunderburst Gatorade and decides, “The rest is too much to carry”. Then, they lug the condemned items to the curb to be picked up by Capitol Waste Services, whose marigold-colored trucks bear a white flag logo, perhaps appropriate to the surrender of all these goods.
Moving Day provides a wonderful image to meditate upon in our faith life. The act of moving clarifies what is necessary in life and what must be discarded, clarifies what is borne lightly and gratefully and what is too heavy to bear. As God forms us, as we submit to the transitions to which our life of faith constantly calls us, what do we bear gratefully, and what is simply too much to bear? What can we take to the curb, so to speak? Christ goes before us and prepares a place for us in the many rooms of his Father’s house (John 14:3). What must we leave behind in order to go joyfully to the house of the Lord (Ps 122)? What do we need to cast aside in order to make room for the good things God wishes to give us?
Along the journey, some things we unload may be treasures to others – vacated job positions or ministerial responsibilities, or the fruits of our labors. Other things simply have to be trashed – addiction, fear, self-deprecation – they aren’t any good to anybody. We can leave them at the curb, or the confessional, and move on. But we must leave them. There are greater things ahead.