Sunday, September 6, 2015

Be Patient Toward All That Is Unsolved...

It’s Sunday in New Zealand and I am feeling every mile of the distance that separates me from my
cozy place in Sackville and those I am apart from.

It’s been a very full three days… yes, its only been three days that I’ve been on the ground.  That’s kind of hard for me to get my head around as so very much has happened, I have seen so much, and there is so very much on my mind. 

At this moment I am in the space of thinking that I should have just stayed home… but, I’m here and there is no going home at the drop of a hat… so, I’ll just do my best to be fully present to what is happening around me and within me.  Perhaps this little writing exercise will help me identify what it is that is stirring within me, what is unsettled…

As I sat to write I was reminded to the words of Rainer Maria Rilke.  I’ve gone to them before but they seem so appropriate for how I am feeling in this moment:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue.  Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is, to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

“Be patient…” this is the first difficulty for me.  I am so used to making things happen on my schedule.  I am notorious for getting things done and have long struggled with being patient when there is something that needs fixing… I’ve gotten better at being still and quiet over the past six months but its still a growing edge for me – and even more so when the urgency seems so real.  What will I do for work after the end of March 2016 when KPC Inc. winds up?  How will I support myself?  Is unemployment an option?  Even deeper than what will I do is the question: “Who will I be?”  I’ll no longer have a job to define my identity.  Nor am I married anymore and as a result I will no longer be Anna’s husband.  Yes, I’ll still to that point be serving the McCully Pastoral Charge, so I guess I’ll still be a minister in the United Church of Canada.  And yes, I’ll still be Zack and Justin’s father – but even that role is limited these days as they both become more and more independent.  Who will I be?

Or, maybe the question is better put: Who do I wish to be?  How do I want to utilize the gifts, knowledge, skills and experience that I have accumulated over the past fifty years as I live into the next twenty five years of my life?  How will the values, wisdom and longings of my heart shape what I do and work toward in the next half of my life?

“And the point is, to live everything…”  Said another way: be fully present, enjoy the moment, live the question.

I’ve been trying to do that since I landed on this long thin strip of land in Pacific ocean – but – today it seemed as if the rain, the trauma of the past few days and low lying clouds conspired against me and I was struggling to say attuned to the moment – let alone be positive about the horizon that was spread before me.

When I woke at 2am this morning I found myself troubled by the events of the past two days: the accident where my host hit the young lady who walked out from behind the bus, and the accident I came upon yesterday where a car was overturned in a swollen ditch and I helped the driver to safety.  These two events together have really thrown me for a loop in respect to my enjoyment of riding these beautiful twisty roads and I began to think this morning about the road that lie before me… and then I began to think about the bigger road… my life… and the many unsolved things that await me at home: the ending of a marriage, the winding down of a company, a new relationship, my changing role as a dad and son as children and parents get older, trying to find a new job etc. etc. …  I finally got back to sleep by repeating to myself a mantra that I came up with in that moment:
I am loved.
I am loved in so many ways.
We’ll figure it out.
It’ll be ok.
 “And the point is, to live everything…”  I fell back asleep and woke again at 7am where, after a piece of toast, coffee and an orange I set off with resolve an optimism on the Gorge Road toward Wapiu… and my optimism lasted for about 10km until the skies opened in a torrential downpour – and such was the rest of the morning.  Sunny break.  Torrential downpour.  Sunny break.  Torrential downpour.  There was no getting dried out… and the wind was strong and very cool…

In the end, I made a wrong turn and rather than coming up the coast as I had intended, I came up the middle of the north Island on Hwy #1.  I was a little confused as to why I was not seeing more coastline… now I know why.

About 11am I arrived in Kaitaia and I’d had enough.  I was wet, cold and feeling very unfocused.  Not a good space to be in when riding a motorcycle over unfamiliar roads – or familiar ones for that matter.  I made the decision to stop for the day and regroup.  I’m glad I did.

With a hot shower, a cup of coffee, and shelter from the rain the fog that was clouding my mood began to lift.  I went for a walk down town, had a look through a few of the stores and was surprised to see signs for Father’s Day sales… I thought Father’s Day was celebrated on the same day the world over… shows how little I know!!!


I found a little café and picked up a couple of sausage rolls for lunch and then ducked into the local liquor mart and got a couple of bottles of local beer and then came back to the room and made a couple of phone calls home… and here I sit now, doing my best to “live everything” in part, by simply trying to identify what it is that is unsolved in my life: quite a bit actually… and resolving again to be present to the questions… on the Sabbath Road…

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