Hundreds of books have now been purged, given away, or moved (bag by bag, box by box over the last two weeks) from the church office to my “work-in-progress” home office. My plants also have been ferried to their new homes. Eleven days of work remain, spread over several weeks since I have already down-sized my hours. I’m moving on down the road a piece.
Not only am I re-locating and re-arranging my favorite objects, I am also re-locating and re-arranging a career and a life style. I am leaving behind current challenges and taking on new ones; letting go of old attitudes and creating new ones. I am faced with forging new ways to relate to people – including my husband since we will now be home together most of the time. I am already seeing a new vision of who I am becoming and am recognizing, as Henri Nouwen, has said that “Every time life asks us to give up a desire, to change our direction or redefine our goals; every time we lose a friend, break a relationship, or start a new plan, we are invited to widen our perspectives” (from Aging: the Fulfillment of Life written with Walter J. Gaffney).
As I was reflecting on this process today, I had one of those “aha” moments. I recognized that this intersection in time is much like the final intersection at which I will pause on the way to leaving life on earth for the next, eternal, life. Who I have become through the relationships, experiences, pressures, joys, and losses of this life, I will take with me into the new one. Then, as now, I will be sad to leave this one but excited to see and experience the next one.
In the meantime, I will take to heart Emilie Griffin’s words in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of Conversations, a Forum for Authentic Transformation which explores Wisdom & Aging: “The years ahead [will] be my new territory . . . the uncharted country of the heart and the Lord himself . . . my guide. . . . What wisdom do I bring to the later years? Nothing more than the wisdom of dwelling in the present moment. No more than the courage of God’s promises. Nothing more than the perseverance to walk through sorrow. No more than the unlimited future of God’s love.”