All Things are Possible

As I drive the long, straight road from my parents’ home to my home,

My breath catches in my chest.

I. am. feeling. a. feeling.

A new feeling.

“Go away, new feeling!” I say. “I don’t want you. You are not welcome here.”

And then I must ask myself what is it that I do want?

Because I do, indeed, want.

The realization rolls in on a tide of emptiness.

I want the old feeling that I usually get from driving on this road in the dark at this time of year.

That is the feeling I want.

I don’t know its name.

But I know it by its absence.

It resides in the

Caves

That I’ve been carrying with me of late.

You see, I’m dreadfully nostalgic.

I think this would be a part of me no matter what,

But I do think that my life up to this point has curated the love of tradition in me.

I like to feel the same things at the same time every year.

That is one of the reasons I loved teaching so much.

The rhythms of the school year carried me-

One wave running into the next one.

This is why I love traditions-

Familiar scenarios that generate feelings that I know and love.

This is why I love church-

The weekly routine, the celebration of special seasons, the events that happen yearly. Even just the way it feels to drive home from a Sunday evening service in summer, in autumn, in winter…

In the rhythm of the calendar year, September always feels like a fresh start to me.

For many years, that meant going back to school as a student, and then a teacher. This rhythm settled itself deep in my soul.

The past two Septembers happened in Toronto. I was in such a different place, doing such different things.

I expected September to feel different than I was used to.

I anticipated the new feelings,

Welcomed them in a friendly way, even,

And found there were many beautiful things about Toronto September-

Moods and smells and leaves and people that I tucked away in my soul.

Now it is September 2020,

And here I am.

Back “home” in Waterloo.

But it feels like something is missing.

Context, perhaps.

I have none right now.

No job.

No school.

 No church.

As I travel through familiar physical spaces,

It feels like my soul is

Circling hungrily,

Searching for the comforting blanket of spaces and rhythms

That used to be mine,

And there

Just

Are

None.

It hurts to realize this,

As I drive in the dark on my own Floradale Road.

It settles deep,

And it settles hard.

I am in a new place.

Those old places are not my reality anymore.

It is okay and good to treasure them,

But the time has come to give up searching them out and

longing for them.  

It would be a loss to cling to what has passed away

Rather than welcoming the new.

I turn scared eyes to

The new feeling

Waiting beside me in the passenger seat.

“Who are you?” I whisper.

I try the feeling on for size.

As it settles over me,

I almost laugh with relief.

“I know you! You’re some sort of melancholy. A little mossy, a little cinnamon-y, a little deer-in-the-head-light-y, a little misty. And what is that? That other thing?”

Ah.

There it is.

A little bit hope-y. Just a base note.

But there it is.

“Okay. So what’s the deal here? Am I gonna be feeling you often, or is this more of a one-time type of deal?” I ask suspiciously. “How attached to you should I get? How much emotional energy should I invest in you?”

No answer.

My fingers drum the steering wheel in frustration.

My soul threatens to flop back to the familiar yearnings.

“No,” I tell it sternly. “We aren’t doing that right now.”

Sometimes you have to be stern with a soul.

“A new thing is happening here,” I tell my soul. “This is where we sit now.”

We drive along,

My new feeling and I.

My identity is not in my circumstances.

My identity is in the One who travels with me.

I know that.

I choose that.  

I ache to be content

Both

When I am filled and

when I am hungry.

All things are possible.


Questions for you:

What steps do you take that help you move forward in life? How do you honour and release something beautiful that isn’t yours anymore? How do you adapt to the changes that life brings?

Note:

This post features my Nana’s china dishes. I feel privileged to own them and privileged to now have cupboard space to store them properly. Unfortunately, when I unpacked them from several years of sitting in storage, two plates had broken. I thought it was interesting how they each cracked in pretty much exactly the same way.

6 Responses

  1. I am so glad you explained the broken plates! They bothered me through the entire reading. “WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PLATES?” It was distracting because at the same time I felt like I was in the back seat of the car with you. Whew. It was an exercise in double-tasking.

    So, now that I know, I can focus on the question at hand. My parents motto, for better or for worse, was “Never look back”. This motto was usually carried out in a healthy manner, as in not scraping off the scab to reopen the wound, but sometimes was carried too far, as in deny there was a wound in the first place. I learned from them to look forward and up. Life experience has taught me that when change is in the air, God’s got a good thing in His hands, just waiting to be tossed at us when we least expect it. We just need to be ready to catch it.

    1. This is beautiful, Rose! Makes me a little teary. “Look forward and up.” I’m going to hold on to that one. Thanks so much for sharing! As for the plates, I thought that after I photographed them I’d be able to throw them away (as I have no plans to try to glue them or anything like that, and have a strict policy about not holding onto things that are no longer in working order). But I just don’t quite feel ready yet. So they shall dwell on top of my fridge a little while longer.

  2. Oh Jasmine. Thank you, thank you for sharing your words. I know these spaces – between the old and the new, and you captured feelings and longings stunningly. The line “sometimes you have to be stern with a soul” made me ache and laugh at the same time. I have no advice to offer – I too am practicing “sitting with what is”.

    1. Somehow I missed seeing this comment until now… my apologies!
      I think that there are more of us “sitting with what is” than we ever realize. That is what I am learning from people’s responses to this post. It’s an honour to be sitting alongside beautiful souls like your own and so many others.

  3. Beautiful post! To comment on your questions at the end, I would say that it often involves tears for me (surprise, surprise! to no one) in both the letting go and the reaching out to embrace. I found a tool that I’m going to use in adapting to the changes that life brings. I discovered it just today, actually, when I read a little story about a toddler who was buckled in his car seat, all ready and waiting to go on drive with his grandpa. When his mom asked him where he was going with Grandpa, he said, “Not know” and when she asked what he and Grandpa are going to do, he said, “Not know” but when she asked if he would like to come back to the house with her then, he shouted, “No!”. In adapting to life’s changes (2020 seems to be the year for them) I want to be like that toddler, waiting to go on life’s ride with God. I can’t always say where we’re going, and often I don’t have a clue what we’re going to be doing, but I’m excited about being WITH Him on that ride. My reminder to trust Him will be to say to myself, “Not know”.

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