This I Believe

Christine - Athens, Ohio
Entered on August 15, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
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Now that I’ve retired from teaching, I look back on my thirty-plus years of rising before dawn and planning past my bedtime and I’ve begun to see life very differently. The kitchen, stacked with relics of the last month or so of all too rapid coming and going is a striking sociologic portrait of modern American working women. To wit: brown bag containing one flat of Sweet One Hundred tomato plants and one of zucchini, dried, done, never planted; stacks of unfinished forms to finalize a frightening change from good predictable health insurance to the piecemeal roulette wheel of post retirement possibilities; remnants of attempts at foraging for quick snacks between appointments, work, meetings; columns of clothing to fashionably transition from the morning chill, through afternoon global warming trends and items to accessorize and add just the wrong note of interest.

Looking at it all with a new acquired indifference, I hope I can maintain this detachment and begin the purging process. “Three moves are as good as a fire.” my grandma Hirn used to say. And now that time has taken on new ease from loosening of schedules and a new urgency for time that still remains with grandchildren, neglected art and friendships, I’ll try to pare away the excess that has in many ways defined me through the years. Though not in a religious sense, I feel a faith which sees each experience as perfect; as it’s meant to be. I want this faith to fill the void where fear creeps in; to believe that if I remain teachable, the next right thing to do will become evident.

In April, my older sister lost her fight with cancer and shared her final days with me. I had the privilege of helping her move away from all things temporal. With each bequest, she became a little lighter until finally the space she’d occupied was no longer large enough for her transitioned being. Her body was the final remnant as she slipped into the beginnings of real peace. I carry the gift of that experience now, as one part of my life concludes and another begins to show its promise. I am awed by the many beginnings with which I have been blessed and I am grateful for yet one more commencement.