Janus-moments

August’s end. The close of three months of summer leave from the work of my present life – 37 years, 1 month (and counting) of active church ministry.

August’s end. The beginning of the remaining five months of that present life before retirement at January’s end and the commencement of the life of my new work (which these summer months have proved a prelude) – my “rehirement”, with Pontheolla, as co-owner/operator of our B&B.

I stand at this entrance, which also is an exit, looking back at the beginning of my new life and looking forward to the end of my present life.

JanusEvery instant of every day is a “Janus-moment.” (After Janus, the ancient Roman god of beginnings and transitions, oft depicted with two faces, one peering into the past, the other gazing into the future, in whose honor the Romans named the month Ianuarius.)

As life alway brings change, I’ve been here before. I trust you, too, know this experience. But, until now, I’ve not stood on a threshold that felt like a precipice, when I am compelled to look not so much back and forward, but rather up and down, when every moment is heavy laden with ambivalence.

As I pursue the meaning, my meaning in all of this (ever the conscious pursuit of an existentialist!), I find comfort in the Janus image, whose true visage cannot be seen, for, dwelling invisible between the two opposite-looking faces, it beholds the present. Thus, in these coming days, weeks, and months, with my every sure-to-be uncertain step, I am reminded, encouraged, when tempted to look too far back or too far forward, to keep my eye focused primarily on the instant moment.

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4 thoughts on “Janus-moments

  1. Thank you, Paul, for a message that is especially meaningful to me today. Keeping one’s eye–and heart–focused on the present moment is ever-challenging.

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    • Paul,

      Over these past months you’ve been in SC, you’ve literally transformed, from an “I hate the outdoors AND manual labor” kind of guy, to an “I’m loving these outdoors,my gardens and even the sweaty manual labor too” kind of guy. If I hadn’t been watching the transformation with my own eyes, I may not have believed it.

      It’s been awe inspiring to behold the NEW YOU, the “I’m pretty happy and content” guy who had found his peace, and just at the right time when he can enjoy it most during “Rehirement”.

      Are you afraid of what the future holds? Of course, who isn’t afraid when running their own business? But my encouragement to you is to do exactly what you said, to not look too far back or too far ahead, just relish every single solitary moment of the joyous times with Pontheolla and the frustration and the awesomeness of owning your own business. As you experience each of those moments, know that there is a LONG line of folks who love both you and Pontheolla and who’ll be there with a kind word, a helping hand and a big hug whenever just in case the future becomes overwhelming.

      You’ve had an amazing past and career as a Pairish Priest, but I believe that you will have an even more amazing future at Clevedale after your time at St Mark’s ends in Feb 2015. We are all cheering for you!!! Seize and enjoy your future moments!

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  2. Yes, Caroline, being in the present “now” is ever-challenging. Staying there – that is, eschewing all looking back and forward – is impossible. I think and feel that, for me, the grace of the reminder and encouragement to be in the present is that I, constitutionally and, perhaps, characteriologically tend to expend great energy dwelling on the/my past or anticipating (worrying about) the unknown future.

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