Musings on Moving
If you are anywhere near my age, you probably remember the original Batman. Nothing like today’s cool, handsome Batman guy with the deep, sexy “I am Batman” voice kind of hero, but the Adam West men in tights kind of hero and his protégé Robin who set out to save Gotham City from sure doom every week. When faced with an unexpected turn of events and no clue what to do, Robin would turn to his mentor-in-tights and sum up the problem in a clever series of “Holy” exclamations:
Holy smoke, Batman!
And my all-time personal favorite: Holy switch-a-roo, Batman!
When a monkey wrench was thrown into the works and Robin knew he was in over his head, he cried out to his leader and all-time Gotham hero when the impossible was at hand.
Batman always knew what to do.
Most of us have dreams of being a super hero, but we never dream of being the side-kick. That’s why I always insisted on being Batman and made my younger sister play Robin when we were little girls saving Gotham in the countryside of rural Georgia. I would tie a towel around my neck and jump off the front porch to wrestle our cousin, the Joker, but mostly to feel my towel-cape flap in the wind.
Feeling the wind in your cape is exhilarating.
Being the side-kick is not nearly as much fun as being the hero. I know, because here I am after my life took an unexpected turn last year and my heart is yelling, “Holy Monkey Wrenches!”
And I can’t even find my cape.
It must have been lost in the move. Holy Monkey Wrenches for sure! When I was Batman and the wind was in my cape, I thought I had it all figured out. It’s been a year now since we moved a thousand miles, from the place we had always called home, to a place we are learning to call home. As a Christian, I know that my identity is bound up in Christ, but in this move, I realized my identity was also bound up in a bunch of other things, many of them good things, that made my cape fly in the winds of a happy, contended life. We had friends and family, attended a thriving church, and raised our children in an old house we loved. My garden grew sweet tomatoes and my friends would pop champagne for my birthday. We did have to battle thick southern humidity, Palmetto bugs and an old leaky roof from time to time, but we loved our life there. Our church family ministered to us, taught us, challenged us, held us accountable and grew us into a people who loved the people of our city.
We just never dreamed we would be loving the people of a different city.
There’s snow here. Lots of it. I had to trade my cute shoes and silk dresses for LL Bean boots and wool sweaters. Socks are no longer optional and the beanie I wear so my ears don’t freeze and fall off messes up my hair for the entire rest of the day. The people here are really nice. But y’all, they talk funny.
Probably because they’re so cold.
A monkey wrench was thrown into my carefully curated little world and my identity has been shaken. Here, I am not Batman. I am not even Robin. At least Robin had a little cape.
I think I hear my sister laughing all the way from Alabama.
I was recently reminded in a sermon, that my identity, like my salvation, is not something I achieve, it is something I receive. As that began to sink in, something shifted, and I remembered it’s not about how great I am in this new place,
It’s about the great I AM in this new place.
Here’s the thing about monkey wrenches: they are used to tighten up nuts. As a child, I remember seeing these tiny, seemingly insignificant parts litter the floor of my father’s workshop. Somehow, they had worked loose from their place of service and ended up on the floor. My father would never throw them away; he would sweep them up into a box he kept on his workbench. When he noticed something in his shop was wrangling loose, like his lawnmower blade, he would grab his trusty monkey wrench, look for a nut that fits perfectly, place it where it needed to be and tighten it securely to keep the mower working well. Without the right nut in just the right place, he knew blades may fly loose, wreaking havoc all over my Mother’s roses, or worse, the grapevines from which he made sweet red wine.
I am thankful I serve the Father who recognizes the worth of small parts in his good, good plan. The same Father who picked me up and kept me when I moved has carefully placed me into a new place of service, tightening up this nut with his holy monkey wrench, making me ready for the good works which he prepared in advance for me to do in this place. (Ephesians 2:10)
Y’all, I managed to make it through my first winter in the world of boots and beanies. The snow melted, the ice thawed, and it’s beginning to feel like home. Now when I miss my cape and cry Holy Monkey Wrenches, as I still do at times, I am reminded that I am a small, but important part of the Kingdom of God. I remember how he never let me go and I know, with all my being, the Spirit is tightening me up securely in Christ, making me holy as he is holy. And that is just where I need to be, lest my new neighbors look over one day to see this nut jumping off the front porch with a towel trying to feel the wind in my cape again.