listening, walking and letting go...

Few things are as satisfying to me as a full day of walking around Montréal for hours on end with no particular place to go. At day's end yesterday, we were exhausted: backs ached, feet hurt, thigh muscles tightened and fragile. It had been too long since our last encounter with the realm of le flâneur. But spring time is slowly creeping into consciousness. Mother Earth is sharing a taste of mercy. The snow has held off for another trip around the sun. So our old, out of shape bodies are ready for more. This afternoon - the morning has already been pleasantly slept away - will take us to our favorite Anglophone bookstore,  
Fairmount Bagels, Marché Jean-Talon and our return to Monsieur Jean Francois' fabulous bistro, Beaufort. 

In addition to celebrating Di's hard work entering the world of teaching ESL, we realized that this trip would also be given to the challenge of when to sell our house in the USA. It is becoming clearer to us both that we want to do this sooner rather than later - for a variety of reasons. The particularities of this carry their own unique blessings and curses from repairs and landscaping work to letting go of books, records, CDs, art and a lifetime of memorabilia. It will be an emotional roller coaster to go through the house with our children encouraging them to lay claim to whatever holds value and meaning. I can already feel the gravitas of this experience: even as I look forward to the ton of tears we will share - and the loads of laughter, too - I know this marks another  touchstone in the cycle of aging.  Eleanor Roosevelt said: "Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art"

We started this conversation three years ago when we first arrived in Montréal for sabbatical. We read aloud some of the works of wise elders as they reflected on growing old. We nourished our personal passions as well as found time for long walks together. We began to de-clutter and dispose of clothes, things, books, and more that no longer held value. I moved from fulltime ministry to part-time and then into retirement. Di secured replacement income that was portable. It has been a work in progress. Or, as Parker Palmer is want to say, an awareness that the way to enter old age as a blessing is all about assent.

Some journeys are direct, and some are circuitous; some are heroic, and some are fearful and muddled. But every journey, honestly undertaken, stands a chance of taking us toward the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.


There are a myriad of details to embrace.  But there is no longer any anxiety about taking this next step - we're listening carefully and patiently for more clues - and trust that this peace is part of God's holy peace that passes understanding. A poem by Martha Postlewaite puts it like this:

Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.

Now its time for that walk...
 
 







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