There and Back Again
I recently had a good whine on Facebook about three 'endings' that have just happened in my life. The last of a group of friends in my neighborhood has moved out. About five of us used to hang out and get into the fun kind of trouble, particularly at the July 4th holiday and the annual Robin Hood Festival here in Sherwood. And then my baby grand piano has a crack in the harp, so can’t be tuned. It gradually slides into tonal disarray, and eventually will have to go. That hurts! It took me years to get the point in my playing where I could justify having a baby grand, an item that had firmly been on my bucket list for decades. And my faithful 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier, nicknamed the Romulan Warbird, was rear-ended a few weeks ago and is about to be collected by the insurance company for scrap.
People were so kind, rallying to offer me comfort and support. But I feel like a fraud! I can still visit my friends, I own an upright piano, and I can get another car if I want! You’d think I never had any real problems and these three things were overpowering me. In the past few years the kind of challenges I’ve faced are the death of a few loved ones, including my mother. I was ill for several years, declining horribly until I was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, easily controlled. I’ve immigrated across the world, facing all the challenges that involves. And I’ve dickered with different life options, trying out new countries and careers, and come out of them much more grounded and appreciative of how blessed my life is.
The big picture with the lament is that I’m getting ready to return once more to Northern Ireland to help out my elderly father, but this time will be semi-permanent. I don't know when I'll be back ... I’m taking an apartment close to Dad’s place, and I booked a one-way ticket with my air miles. It’s a new adventure and I’m looking forward to it. How many immigrants get the chance to return home, be close to their families and friends again? In ye olde days, once the ship had sailed and the covered wagon rumbled off on the trail, that was it.
So, the timing on the neighborhood, the piano, and the car are actually perfectly aligned. A natural closure on three of the things I’d miss if I left.
The people are another matter. I will miss them. Fortunately, flight prices are reasonable, and I will continue to come and go as I have, just less frequently. Thank goodness for Facebook and Skype!
"We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." -- T.S. Eliot