It’s been two months since my last post, #13 in my 14-part series reflecting on my mantra that’s it’s good to go but hard to leave. I was going to post once I had fully arrived in my new home and job. Once my house had sold. Once all my furniture was delivered. Once I had unpacked. But I have yet to achieve those milestones, I have not yet fully arrived.
My house is still on the market, some of my furniture is in storage, there are boxes still full of stuff and my mental energy is limited so at the end of the day, I don’t attack the boxes or piles with enthusiasm: not since I’ve discovered “Brokenwood” on cable and UK panel shows on YouTube plus I need to take my laundry to the laundromat along with feeding and caring for stressed-out cats.
I have discovered that transitions are like pi; and not like pie. Pie is easy to divide into pieces, and when you finish one piece, you tackle the next until the whole thing is finished. Ta-da: arrived! Instead, transitions are pi – irrational, never ending, and pi times (r squared) gives you the area of a circle, revealing a way to measure reality, transitional pi times life circumstances reveals new things about yourself and God’s grace.
Transitional pi goes on and on. When all the boxes are unpacked, the cats content, and my old house sold, I will still not have arrived. I will only have paused to catch my breath and get my bearings. There will be something new ahead: a church challenge, a new place to live, the pursuit of another degree, new relationships, eventual retirement, possible health challenges, a vacation, maybe I’ll fall in love, or regain a healthy weight…Since change is a constant, like sherpas who climb Mt. Everest, sometimes I need to pause and let my spirit catch up with my body. Or I else I will spend most days with spiritual motion sickness.
I have not arrived, and on this side of heaven, I will not stay put. Should I find myself in a care home, there will still be new challenges, new things to learn, new things to discover about God’s grace and what it means to be human.
I am grateful for all the friends who’ve showered me with caring kindness during this stressful transition and for family who don’t quite understand me but who love me and have stepped up to help. From helping me unpack or hang curtains, sympathy for the financial challenge of having both a mortgage and rent to pay, sharing meals and praying for me, God’s love has been made real through friends, family and the church.
And that is another irrational thing about this and every transition: that when we are at our most vulnerable, when every nerve ending is raw and our lives are liminal, we receive love, a ove that humbles us because it is not conditional on our lives being perfect. And that pi love which is irrational and never ending is even sweeter and more precious than strawberry rhubarb pie. May you too know that to be true.
Tonight’s Prayer Poem is I in the 2005 collection in Wendell Berry’s Leavings:
I know that I have life
only insofar as I have love.
I have no love
except it comes from Thee.
Help me, please, to carry
this candle against the wind.
Grace and peace,