Change and the mustard seed

Sources of Joy – Days 54 – 56
A eulogy of sorts

During this, my officially designated “respite”, I have made honest attempts to achieve more regular days, manage my time with greater precision, and render plans and strategies conceived thus far more concrete. All this, yet still, days flow one into the other as the sixth wave does into the seventh and the imposition of arbitrary measures marking the passing of time, although necessary, seems futile on occasion. Here, for example, three days have been condensed into one, for thematic reasons.

An amicable request on Sunday afternoon from my landlord to vacate the apartment we have been living in – incredibly, for five years – by the end of the month led to a certain amount of upheaval, both emotionally and from a planning point of view.

Today, three days later, my realisation upon waking was the distillation of the following three simple facts as they pertain to my life in this moment:

  1. My partner of 26 years is in a care facility for the first time, albeit temporarily. This hitherto unimagined, then subsequently most necessary, development represents a radical shift in our relationship and in our lives. Some of the difficult questions which have surfaced as a result do not have answers yet.
  2. My little car – my means of transport, and bearer of the illusion of freedom – is at the mechanic’s for the next week. This changes how I operate significantly. It induces stillness and where the frenetic is preferred.
  3. My home – for this is where I do hang my hat – is no longer. From this moment, it has turned into a packing project, and a reason to purchase extra refuse bags, because non essentials should never to be dragged into a new life.

These three simple things considered together forced me to acknowledge my reluctance to change, the necessity for change and, much more importantly, the reality of change.

That is probably why I noticed for the first time this new little creation down the road this morning – a happy little detail brought into being by a vegetable-growing neighbour:

It is a rosemary bush. It will look pretty at Christmas time with its purple flowers.
It is a rosemary bush. It will look pretty at Christmas time with its purple flowers.

While we who have known each other for a long time are busy getting on with our lives as best as we can, some, whom we also have known for a long time have also been busy – largely unbeknown to us – getting ready to die. Some people attain grace and beauty when close to death. Others seem to be born with these qualities fully formed and, moreover, have a talent for spreading these gifts among all with whom they come in contact.

I received the news yesterday morning that one such being has left our midst; a school friend who suffered brain cancer. Here is the remarkable thing: There are more people than I can count, scattered as we are across continents and across decades, who have all converged because of their liking and love for this being – and their liking and love for each other – with messages of condolence and tales of fond memories with an understated depth of sincerity which is almost overwhelming.  Yet it does not overwhelm, because among us, we re-establish connections and strengthen what was pretty solid to begin with. It is quite a big picture, and we are all part of it. As I read the social media messages I think of what I know of the lives of those, like me, who mourn the passing of a friend. I realise each one of these amazing people has faced hardship and difficulty in large doses and yet remained true to self.

In nomine Patris et fillii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
In nomine Patris et Fillii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

You see, despite that seventh wave, and the shifts and change which come with it, that tiny little mustard seed faith is all that we need to bring us safely to shore once more.




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