I am leaving the state of New York four days from now after living here almost all of my sixty six years. My belongings are reduced to what is essential. There have been many Last Times for seeing friends. Now I am focused more towards my First Times. Crossing over into Ohio, seeing Cleveland where my daughter and son-in-law live, staying overnight in the town of Oberlin, then entering into my new potentially forever home in Kendal, a senior living facility: these will be entirely new encounters.
Today I am less focused on departure and more on arrival. I am atop the highest mast looking to shout land ho! after so many days of being at sea. It was an unexpected voyage to begin with. My husband’s diagnosis of cancer in October of 2016, ending with his death in February, 2018, has been dangerous, exhilarating, tragic and magical. These experiences ravaged the illusion that I was ever entirely the captain of my own vessel. It is both humbling and a relief to be divested of false control. I now am more able to entrust the wheel and rudders to Other hands, and appreciate the role of being a sadder but wiser passenger.
I know the stars guiding me to my next destination are shining clear and true. I know a lot more of how to continue navigating with a broken heart. I know a lot more about how to ask for help and to appreciate how much love and kindness there is in our outwardly hostile world. I better understand how disillusionment, loss, and grief can lead to rebuilding a sturdy faith. I continue to experience the depth of the ocean floor lying peacefully below. It is an ever present part of the shifting seas that seems to toss us about without regard to our desires, hopes, and dreams. I am captain/not captain and I welcome you aboard my battered vessel as soon as I dock in Ohio. It is time to put new sailing skills to use and I am pleased to report I have no idea of what that will look like. Other hands For a New Beginning.
My friend Sage sent me this poem last week.
For a New Beginning
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.