Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Times, they are a-changing

On her blog this morning, Debra Broughton, a writer and photographer currently returning to England after 7 years in Amsterdam has written a thought-provoking entry about Change. In my new apartment, on this Continent, contemplating the recycled hardwood growing across the floor in two foot increments, the enormity of my own changes—and how they affect those around me—hits home.

The details of my individual and very personal circumstances are less relevant here than is the more universal picture that strikes us all. In her popular book “Eat, Pray, Love”, Elizabeth Gilbert speaks clearly to the boundaries of relationship and the impossibility of and inappropriate attempt to describe the one-sided perspective on the dissolution of a marriage. I respectfully concur.

It is enough to say that what once was seems no longer to be found. While my door remains open to my children and friends, for now, I am largely alone.

So there is time now, upon awakening, to stare at the ornate tin ceiling overhead, to gaze deeply into the eyes of the man brushing his teeth before me, to contemplate over breakfast the flooring laid last evening, and to dream about how the kitchen will look when it is finished.

How will I look when I am finished?

Like the home I have just left, I will never be finished. Guilty of being the cobbler with no shoes, our home was in constant transformation. Trim that was never applied once we moved in will be finally installed for the new owners. Rooms that began as an office or bedroom changed functions and colors according to the seasons of our changes. Furniture, mirrors and artwork came and went with the inspiration and delight of newfound (or created) objects. Big and little shrines transformed the home in all corners.

Transformation is in the air every day and every night, breathing into our souls the taste—sometimes delicious, sometimes bitter—of self-discoveries. The linen slipcover wears out and needs to be replaced. My daughter readies herself for college, my son outgrows his bed. Is it any wonder that one or all of us might need to transform our lives, if not within the home, then without?

Life is about change. If we cannot adapt and ride comfortably with it, steer ourselves along the path together, we are bucked and jostled until inevitably we are thrown apart to land softly or with a bone-shattering crash alone. Usually the choice is ultimately ours, even if we don’t realize this at the time.

It feels that I have been kicking, clawing, fighting desperately to reach something elusive that has been slowly and clearly slipping away, despite the best efforts of all of us. Unable to hold on and manage the ride, for better or worse, my fingers have at last let go. Like the watery slow-motion images in movies of a drowning man in that sudden moment of peace between Life and Life Beyond, I am floating, floating…

all pictures by Melinda Johns

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Anonymous said...

"While my door remains open to my children and friends, for now, I am largely alone."

Wow, I had no idea.

Well, I know people don't consider those they interact with solely online as 'friends', but please know that you are in my thoughts.

I am also sure that you have connections with others that you might not have considered in that vein.

P.S. By the way, you didn't finish laying down the trim?? LOL. I am afraid that's how our house will look; Chris wants to do everything so thoroughly that it took us two weeks to do the laundry room! I just can't take that with the rest of the house.

TheElementary said...

I don't doubt that this was very hard to write, and in such an impossible situation it's common to think you're alone but as 'persistentillusion' said, it's probably not as you think and I too come here to see how things are and how you're progressing in your grasp of change and what life is throwing at you.

Debra said...

Thanks for the link to my blog post, and for giving us this open and honest view on your life.

"How will I look when I am finished? Like the home I have just left, I will never be finished."

How beautiful, and how true. I think that's the beauty of humans - always changing but never finshed.