In my experience, one of the things that people from my church do well is help people move.* Liebling and Chiquito had been planning on friends from church helping this spring as they moved from their apartment in Kiel to their new place in Eckernförde, but then a pandemic interfered, and gatherings of more than two people were prohibited by the government of Schleswig-Holstein, the German region where they live.
As out-of-town visitors we doubled the number of adults in the household, but baby Theta is likely to be needing one of us at any given time, so that leaves only three people able to carry any stuff. Still, three is better than one. We made plans, reserved a hand truck and straps, tried not to dwell on the number of stairs leading down from one apartment or up to the next, and hoped that neither the fridge nor washing machine would take out anyone’s back.
And then we got the good news—it turns out that exceptions to the rules can be made for moves. Accordingly, three friends from church came along (one in the first town was joined by two in the second town), and their help made everything more manageable.
At the end of the day we were all plenty tired (and had experienced a few minor mishaps†), but not nearly as tired as we would have been without these friends who showed up in face masks, kept their distance, and carried a lot of stuff up and down many stairs. They didn’t just make it easier on us—they made it possible. I don’t like to think how we would have managed the heavier appliances without their help.
There are lots of aspects of our church that I appreciate, but on moving day, I’m grateful that the community we’re part of motivates people to show up for tedious, dusty and sometimes difficult work for other church members, whether they know them or not. This feature might not seem particularly transcendent, but a line from one restoration scripture, the Doctrine & Covenants, comes to mind: the Lord says, “All things unto me are spiritual.” It’s an interesting perspective.
*When you’re moving away, friends from church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) will come help you load your stuff into a moving truck, and that’s very helpful, but not entirely unexpected—they’re likely to be your friends. The remarkable thing is what happens on the other end: people who’ve never met you will show up to help unload that truck, and by the next Sunday you’ve already got a head start on forming friendships.
†The two instances easiest to recall: first, the towels we put in the freezer to absorb the water from the defrosting ice weren’t quite up to the job, but a mattress nearby was happy to absorb the remainder; and second, the lid on a miniature jar of anchovies was not as tight-fitting as one would have hoped, so all the other jars in the bag with the fridge contents took an anchovy bath.
[Images: Yours Truly]