strange: the new normal – first impressions…

The end draws nigh (4½ months hence). Life is strange. Wholly new.

I’ve never retired. 37 years of doing what I do, becoming who I am, in good measure shaped by my work (so, too, so true the converse). Shy of 65, able to do other things. I don’t wonder about that. Retirement will be “rehirement” working with my wife Pontheolla as entrepreneurial hospitality folk at our B&B.

Though not far off, it’s still future. And I’ve pledged to myself to focus daily as much as possible on the present (though dwelling in time and space it’s impossible, sometimes by willful choice, sometimes by chance or circumstance unbidden, not to contemplate the past and anticipate the future). And I’ve begun to discover the now is always new. And strange…

Writing sermons, conscious, on my way out, of seeking biblical illumination of the existential reality of transition, that of the community I serve and mine (instantly being reminded of an essential aspect of my preaching many years ago in those first months after I walked in)…

Attending meetings, the agendas with time-arcs spanning months, years into the future; feeling myself both present and absent, alive, engaged, and superfluous…

Greeting newcomers, some, delighting in the vibrancy of our community, professing to have “found home”; feeling the loss, knowing that I, no longer an open-ended resident, rather a short-term tenant, can enjoy only the briefest of relationships with them…

Accepting folk’s kindhearted recognitions of my coming departure and their tender recollections of our times past; feeling a sudden rush of anxiety as if I’ve unwittingly arrived at my own memorial…

Walking around Capitol Hill, riding the Metro, driving through the city, looking, head constantly swiveling, recording, preserving in swiftly overflowing memory banks the way things appear now; knowing, believing that should, when I return for a visit the scenery will have changed…

My first takes on strange, my new normal. Doubtless, more to come…

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