After the noise and hurry of a few days of herding, helping, hearing, bathing, transporting, teaching, cooking for and playing with three kids under the age of seven, I have this to say:
When you live alone, you become accustomed to quiet, to the sounds of solitude. Solitude is different than loneliness, a completely different space in every respect. As we get older, rocking over that mid-century point and on past the corner where our career from the first part of life tapers off and then stops, everything changes. There is a new normal for us, which is a good and proper thing. "To everything there is a season..", as the scriptures said so long ago. Accepting the changes that come with the passage of time with grace and vision is a challenge. Pride and the Ego take a severe beating and come out much better proportioned than they probably ever were before. We begin to see many things in a different, I dare say a better light, with a wider understanding of life and our own place within it. I am beginning to like it more and more.
I have liked every phase of my life thus far. I liked school and college. I liked early marriage and raising my children. I liked diving into my teaching career and immersing myself in wild creativity and the ministry to young students and musicians. I wasn't wild about the grieving phase, I have to be honest, but I learned a lot while walking through it. I grew wings and different eyes. This is the next phase and I find that I like it as well. This is where I am, right now in this moment. I find that what is, is enough. Like this ancient smiling stone I happened upon in Ireland, I am happy to be here. (This guy makes me smile every time I see him.)