Those of us who live a peripatetic (peripathetic?) life come to know the Elders’ Quorum Moving Company pretty well. We’re all familiar with the process — contacting the Elders’ Quorum president two days before arrival; lifting a leather hide-a-bed couch up three flights of circular stairs; shattering a few glass table tops (yes, Steve Evans, I’m talking about you) or other sundries; and of course, visiting the chiropractor afterwards.
Amazingly, we do this all for two groups — people we’ve never met, and people we’re never going to see again. Thus, Elders’ Quorum moving becomes a test of our charity. For both move-outs and move-ins, the prospect of any earthly reward is far from certain. Move-outs may (or may not) be friends of long tenure in the ward; what is certain is that we’re likely never to see them again. Move-ins, meanwhile, are a cipher — is this fellow the next bishop, or the next inactive? We don’t know, and yet we still show up to move his dining room table.
Helping others move is a test of charity for another reason: Members in transition are also among those most in need of others’ help. Uprooting is difficult, stressful, and expensive. And sometimes ward members (on either or both ends of the move) can help ease some of the difficulties felt by these vulnerable moving members.
The quorum isn’t perfect, of course, and doesn’t always come through. (Sometimes this is due to member miscalculation. For example, it’s bad idea to move out of a law school ward two weeks before the bar . . . just trust me on this one). And while the Elders are usually the group with a formal role, they certainly aren’t the only ones who participate (I say this having watched Sumer Evans show up for a move and proceed to outwork everyone there).
Moving is hell. But moves have also been, for me, faith-affirming experiences. When I unmoor myself from my normal protections and security and find myself cast on the mercy of the Lord and of my ward members, I find that I am (perhaps finally) able to experience miracles, able to see the hand of the Lord in protecting my family. And so paradoxically, I’ve found that moving brings miracles. Or rather, it brings unique crises, but those crises are a chance to see the Lord’s hand.
And often, the manifestation of the Lord’s hand comes in the form of the Elders’ Quorum moving company.