Inevitably there comes a time when one game ends and it’s time to begin another.
I have had a long time between games of pickup sticks.
Tempests have way of picking up the most carefully arranged plans and tossing them high. And when they come, there is not much to do but hold tight to that which offers the greatest support and wait for the calm. For the pieces to fall back, though inevitably nothing will land quite in the same place. There is a longing for the comfort of the familiar, a mourning for what is no longer. And slowly, amidst the brokenness, emerges a profound gratitude for the peace, the simplicity that replaces the chaos. And a fervent hope, a prayer maybe, for strength to make some sense of the change. For there surely will be change.
It is almost five years since my father died. Not long after, my need to write, always a quiet persistence, stirred a little. Write like my Dad. Be like him. Use my pen to draw the parallels, fill in the gaps, reinforce the ties between us. Thick bold strokes to keep us together. Oh, that they never fade away.
And then it was my mother’s time. For a long time.
I couldn’t write while she was sick. I couldn’t read much either. Time was precious, finite. Why document the moments from the sidelines when we still had a chance to be in their very essence? Carpe diem. Or something like that.
Now the great blow is over. Apparently you cannot be an orphan when you’re fifty something. Maybe not technically, yet there is a massive blow to the navigation system all the same. Things look different. Perspectives are altered. Priorities. Some solid as forever, others up for grabs. On some level, I feel like I have shed some integral purpose, like a skin that gave me some of my colour, identity. Not all of it, of course. Just enough that when my feet hit the floor each morning, there is the barest hesitation. What now? Just where does one go, for a top up of ‘purpose’ ?
I read sage words from the great Mark Twain. The two most important times in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. I look at the faces of my tribe and I know I already know. And perhaps, for the moment it is enough to simply live life on purpose.
The tempest is receding, and I’m thinking about the games I want to play. Gardens to nurture, travels to encounter. Wildly ambitious crafty projects, with sticks and string New flavours, old friends, nurturing body and soul. Cherishing the memories of my mother. And maybe some more writing….like my father.
Another round of pickupsticks, anyone.