My wife and I moved into a new apartment this week. We had lots of help loading the truck. Mormonism is good at many things, and helping those who move is certainly one-- several fellow congregants who know us only as passing acquaintances spent hours carrying heavy boxes due to our shared belief that when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are in the service of God.
Moving has given plenty of opportunity to think about what my place of residence means-- in moving from one apartment to another, just a few blocks away, I'm leaving one community and congregation behind and joining another. Where I leave is not just geography, it's about webs of human relationships. My wife and I made many close friends in our old neighborhood, and decided to move in part because several families we were close to moved on, as transient college students are wont to do. While we had stayed in the same place, our community changed, and it was time to move on.
I moved to this city for college, but I chose my university in large part due to its proximity to many of my relatives. I love spending time with them, and I'm so glad that my wife was able to meet them in the early days of our relationship. The closeness she has developed with my grandparents, cousins and siblings who live here fills me with joy.
When she graduates, we will probably move to another city. Instead of seeing these relatives a few times a week, we will see them perhaps once a year, perhaps every few years. But we will still live embedded in this web of family relationships, and they will nourish us each day. I have seen that in our relationship with her parents, who live thousands of miles away, but whose love and support flows to us constantly. We live in these relationships as much as we live in an apartment or a city.
Our aim, in choosing and caring for the place we live in, is to make it a place that builds these kinds of relationships, that lets us live in awareness of our bonds with those around us.