When we were planning our departure for the US two years ago, we were given this Ikea poster by Dave (brother) and Paula: it shows an old map of Manhattan, south of Central Park, over which is written LIFE IS AN ADVENTURE. We took that as a motto for our trip, and boy has it been fulfilled in a million ways! But now our countdown towards home has started, and the American adventure is coming to an end.
Every day contains another moment of terminating, completing, relinquishing, last opportunities or leave-taking. This might be having a last lunch with a friend (Joan, today, one of the singers from The Song Project) or a last hug of a baby (yesterday, belonging to Tanya, whom I met at a Feminism and Faith rally in the early spring of 2018 and have had occasional amaaaazing meet-ups with over the months; a kindred spirit). My last chiropractic appointment. Last spiritual direction sessions with my directees. On Friday was my last leadership meeting at Epiphany Church, where a small group of us have Worked Jolly Hard month by month for over a year. That has been about strategies and procedures towards a new vision for church life, a huge restructuring of the church’s activities. It is exciting to see how much has changed already in both cultural and spiritual terms, and to feel the undercurrent movements: there will be no going back!
I am relishing every moment.
This afternoon we held our leaving party, here at the apartment. How wonderful to see many of the friends we have delighted in over these 18 months come together to enjoy each others’ and our company. The earliest friend, Eileen, was my first spiritual director, and we met within 2 weeks of arriving in Manhattan. The latest friends, Emily and Victoria, Luca met a week ago at church, and I only yesterday morning! The additional (dare I say ulterior?) motive for the party was a real ‘house-cooling’ event: we came with no furniture and were given most of what we have been living with here. So we needed to give it all away again! Everything, including our bed, chest of drawers, dining table and chairs, plants, crockery, and all the electrical items (including the waffle machine, boohooooo), had to be claimed by someone. For the larger things: ‘if it is labelled, you can have it (if you can arrange transport)’; for the little things: ‘take it with you now!’. Great fun, fantastic to know that Cornelia wanted our tiny oven/toaster, Moritz the bookcase, Ning the folding screen, Barbara the lemon tree, Doug the bread machine; so many people have taken a little bit of us as a souvenir! And most of the furniture is going to find a home in the guest apartment at the Epiphany church rectory. A complete clear-out, and a completely satisfying and contented day.
Lots of gratitude, celebration, poignant words spoken, hopes expressed for continued relationships. Lots of ‘yes, of course we will come: we don’t need a second invitation’: Kimptonites, you have been warned.
Our guest book shows how many people have come to visit us since January 2018: everyone who has shared food with us here. Each guest signs a bird, cuts it out and lets it fly! A huge and happy flock.
And note: our US adventure may be coming to an end, but for sure NOT the adventure of our lives!