I have read much about it and I live it through my work, but no second-hand living can articulate what my being is grappling with in these days: finitude.
I have a birthday this month. I will be 54. That number in itself is not all that noteworthy, but the awareness of limits on a body heretofore game for anything is sobering. Sleeping on the ground in the BWCA was more remarkable to me in the morning than it has been in the past; remarkable meaning painful! I carried canoes and toted packs and savored living in my body and in the savoring I was aware of creakiness new to me. I will bear no more babies. My laugh lines will bear ever more powerful witness. And gravity…well, real it is.
There is a flailing around within me of late. What is it I am called to do with the sweet miracle of the years I have? I am in the life-cycle breath between launching children and welcoming grandchildren. I am in the sweet place of gained confidence and earned life lessons. I am seeking to listen listen listen for what it is the Holy calls to me to explore. So far, the only answer I am given is “what is”; I am called to be present to what is.
My tendency is to launch myself into much. I have dashed down roads to school and career and child-bearing and rearing of same and I have inhaled life and its fullness with great gusto.
I find myself in the familiar mode of scanning the universe for the “what next” of life. I have written for catalogues for Doctoral programs (compatible with my pastoral schedule – I’m not leaving ministry!). I am reading professional publications seeking the next fascination or adventure. I am seeking seeking seeking.
But. But perhaps this roily itchy time is the time to digest and savor the much of what has been. Perhaps this is the time in my life when I will “afford” the Yoga classes I have longed for and the friendships I have tended shallowly. Perhaps, after eight years in a church that has demanded constant juggling to lead I can take deeper breaths and trust that the Spirit breathes and frolics with greater freedom with and through a congregation pastored by a less harried woman.
I will admit to a bit of anxiety.
It takes greater spiritual discipline for me to “be” than to do. It has always been so.
Perhaps this is the season for being present to the now; the precious irreplaceable now.
Perhaps, if you find yourself facing finitude and its provocations, you might join me in being present to what is.
No work for cowards, that. I will welcome your company.
It is deep soul-mulchy work for this soul at this time: aware of time, honoring time, savoring time, loving time, trying-not-to-clutch-at-time, time.
Welcome to the next reality. It is a good, challenging, daily changing place to be. I hope you find yourself anew and humane is a time in which the world around wants us to be very different from what I understand your writing is inviting. May you find Godness and Mercy in this place too. Betty Schilling