It is here.
End day. New day. Beginning day. R-Day.
Endings and Beginnings. Inexplicably tied.
I awaken to smoky skies. In front of my window, the river slips silenly past, a broad green ribbon of movement coursing towards a far-away sea. Somewhere up beyond the smoke, the sun shines.
The river never stops moving. The river cannot flow backwards just as time cannot rewind itself.
And in this moment of time, my heart is at peace.
It is a time of Completion.
A segment of my life changing. Evolving. Transforming. Opening up. Expanding.
I like expansion.
The feeling of possibility that pries open the known and hidden corners of my heart, my mind, my spirit, my life.
I like expansion.
Making the unknown visible. Making the unseen, known.
I cannot see tomororw. Cannot know what it will bring.
What I can know is that when I step into today with arms wide open, heart beating freely, mind expanded to accept all that is, and all that is possible, tomorrow is not mine to worry about.
When I step into today fully conscious and aware, today is all mine. My passion. My joy. My responsibility.
I am entering my last day of my formal working career. Last night, C.C. and I had dinner with a lovely young couple who are at the beginning of their lives together. She is pregnant, just completing her Master’s degree. He is in his dream job. Together they are renovating a home. Building a life and a place for their yet to be born child. The possibilities for their lives are unbounded.
Many years further along the road, I am just beginning this new phase, my ‘rejuvenation jaunt’. Though my days on this earth are not as far-stretching as their’s, my possibilities are also unbounded,
It is not the number of years I’ve walked this road of life that make the difference nor how many unknown days I have left. It’s how I live each step I’m taking now. How much love I fill into each moment, how much joy I share.
When I joined The Inn, my intention was to end my formal working career in a place I love — at the frontlines of the homeless sector. And then, possibility of ending it on an even higher note opened up with the opportunity of stepping in as the Interim Executive Director.
What a beautiful gift.
I can’t say it has been ‘easy’, but it definitely has been fulfilling and rewarding. I have grown and stretched and learned and experienced leadership in ways I never imagined I would, ways I never even thought I wanted.
I have been wonderfully expanded.
And so today, I say good-bye to an organization that has treated me well and given me an opportunity to have my contributions make a difference. An organization that everyday stands beside those whose journies have been disrupted by this thing called ‘homelessness’, so that they can see in the darkness and find their way home.
Last night, as we sat over dinner and chatted, I shared with the young woman who is just beginning to frame the future of her career, stories of my times working in this sector. One of the stories I shared was of a man who was a client at the adult singles homeless shelter where I worked when I first started in this field. He didn’t know he was passionate about photography until one day he picked up a camera that had been donated to the art program I’d started when I first began working there. That camera changed his life.
Three years later, on a cold December night as I sat with him in hospice and he took his last breaths, photos of his work surrounded him on the bed. He wasn’t conscious but I described to him the photos I’d brought to give him comfort. With each photo I described, I felt immersed in life’s mysteries. Here was a man who ‘had nothing’ and yet who was leaving behind a beautiful legacy of the last three years of his life because one day he picked up a camera.
I imagined as he took his last breath that all those images he’d captured in his last three years of life were forming a bridge that carried him from this world to the next place of his journey.
He passed on the inhale. I imagined that his last slow rattly breath was filled with Love and that Love is all he carried with him and all he left behind. The rest was just stuff.
When the nurse came into the room to open the window so his spirit could fly free, the breeze of the window’s opening stirred the photos slightly and I heard the whispers of Love all around me.
Thoughout my almost 14 years working in the homeless-serving sector I have met some remarkable people. Regardless of their role, staff, donor, volunteer, funder or stakeholder, what has bound us all together is the commitment to ensuring those for whom the road of life has not been easy, have a safe, secure place to ease the load of homelessness.
We all come at this work from different places, perspectives, needs. Yet, regardless of what brought us to this work, it is the belief that everyone deserves to find a place to call home that fills our vision and our hearts.
And it is our love of this human condition that keeps us connected and committed.
Today I say goodbye to people who everyday demonstrate what it means to be compassionate, courageous, kind and real. People who with every step of their journey create a path for those whose journies are troubled, to find solace and comfort on their way.
I like to imagine that path is built on Love.
And while I am leaving the organization and the sector, with every inhale and exhale, I will carry the Love I have found, witnessed, known in my heart. Always.