High summer is almost here and I'm reveling in the vitality of the season. I look across the street
and see that the rising sun will come up a little farther to the north tomorrow, behind the next chimney, and I’m watching the 4-year-old neighbor boy grow faster than the California Poppies in his front flowerbed. I’m enjoying summer movies and long bike rides and I am also torn between an acute awareness of what has been and what is yet-to-be. It seems that lately every season holds some kind of crossroads.
My mother is in hospice care and failing steadily and my sister has asked me to write and present the tribute for her funeral. So, I’m sorting through old photos that span the 90 years from mom's first tricycle ride to her last grandchild’s wedding, which also means I’m reflecting on my own story and remembering moments I had forgotten. This is painful work. It is tearful and sighing work, and it is also necessary and important. It is work that leaves me with a heightened awareness of both my finished and unfinished plans and to wonder about chapters of my life that are yet to come.
Reflection can be an avenue for finding meaning in the patterns and perplexity of our lives. And
while a sense of meaning is necessary for our identity the ironic opposite is also true, that we need to approach reflection with a spirit of curiosity and openness. We need to be able to see new interpretations for old events, to replace old meanings with new insights. To be only loosely tethered to a sense of certainty.
Kelsey's recent blog about moving to the Midwest resonated with me because I'm also in a new
place this season and there are lots of opportunities to open my heart and eyes wider. This morning I pulled weeds for an hour with a woman down the street, drank her coffee and met her son and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Somehow neighbors' weeds are less irksome than my own and today they were a chance to begin a new friendship. In fact, all kinds of things are happening in this historic neighborhood. There's a backyard being excavated for an addition, a red-haired woman becoming more visibly pregnant every week and a bleary-eyed medical student studying on his back porch late into the night. Our local drag queen is gearing up for a new show, elderly people are getting stiffer and more crotchety and the corner coffee shop is getting more crowded. All kinds of changes keep altering the life of this corner of Denver.
Everywhere in the world the sun moves across the horizon, the moon waxes and wanes, trees
grow and die. And I wonder about the purpose of life--who I am here to be and what I am here to do, and why humans have the gift of reflection anyway! But when I step back and take myself out of the center of my story I'm astonished and awed by life's tapestry and how we all fit into it. Hail and fair weather, fear and forgiveness, creating and destroying in a never-ending cycle of change, and now again high summer is near and everything is approaching fullness. So, here's to my mom at the end of her journey, to you wherever you are in yours, to us all in the great dance together. Drink it in, wallow in the messiness of being alive here and now and don't worry too much about the next season--life will have its way with us ready or not. God is with us--enjoy the dance!
Eileen J Terry
Eileen Terry is a collaborator & supporter of the Celtic Way team.