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It’s been just about a week since I left Korban House and my life at L’arche. There has certainly been more to think about than I could have anticipated, from practical matters like what I will do next to the emotional aspect of leaving behind close friends and a rhythm of life that only the Maritimes can offer, to the multitude of lessons that my time their offered.  I think about the themes of rootedness and stability, rhythm and rest, solitude, community, the depth of love and forgiveness, simplicity and being observant, living in the moment and with gratitude.

I find my mind keeps wandering back to this thought of the need for periods of transition.  I think I’m like the frog who gets dropped into a pot of water… if the water has time to heat up slowly, I’m less likely to start screaming and attempt an escape.  But the analogy falls apart here, because it’s actually a very good thing, these times of transitions, not something that will lead to me becoming a fancy French dish (I hope).

Looking back I see that L’arche itself was a transition period – a safe place that gave me some warm water to rest in before being torn away from university life (which consisted of community and life in the maritimes and living near my St. Stephen friends).  And L’arche gave me a lot of time to think, despite how busy I was, about who I want to be and where I want to end up and how I plan on getting there.  Though I get the feeling that this won’t be something I ever stop thinking about.

And I’ve enjoyed the much needed small transitions – the opportunity to spend a bit of time in Halifax, reflecting on L’arche and thinking about what’s next without being in either place, and the restful week I’ve had so far in Ontario.   But now it’s time to dive in – into job hunting and essay writing and organizing my life into the neat little boxes I prefer it to be in.

Still, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed.  I recently found this poem… it seems to help me remember to focus on the bigger picture when I get caught up in the sometimes tiny details and the bigger times of chaos.

Life Goes On
By Howard Thurman

During these turbulent times we must
remind ourselves repeatedly
that life goes on.
This we are apt to forget.
The wisdom of life transcends our wisdoms;
the purpose of life outlasts our purposes;
the process of life cushions our processes.

The mass attack of disillusion and despair,
distilled out of the collapse of hope,
has so invaded our thoughts that what we know
to be true and valid
seems unreal and ephemeral.
There seems to be little energy left for aught but futility.

This is the great deception.
By it whole peoples have gone down to oblivion
without the will to affirm the great and permanent strength
of the clean and the commonplace. Let us not be deceived.
It is just as important as ever to attend to the little graces
by which the dignity of our lives is maintained and sustained.

Birds still sing;
the stars continue to cast their gentle gleam
over the desolation of the battlefields,
and the heart is still inspired by the kind word
and the gracious deed.

Love and peace always.

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