Moving is a knot of conflict.
Six years ago my wife and I moved from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia to Lake Norman in North Carolina. Despite being only a five-hour drive south, our new home on LKN was thought to be our last, but as a thought may do, it dissolved into change. Now for various reasons we are moving back to the community we left.
Years ago in one of my frequent phone chats with my mother, she said, “It’s already Wednesday.” Then in my forties, I thought her remark just one more of an elderly person who lived alone. Now, about the age she was when she spoke those words, I see what she understood and shared with me in her way.
I remember Saturday mornings or other bits of days that seemed to be made of eternal time. However, those hours-long packages did not bore but were, instead, full of activity and life, and each was wrapped in one long envelope of a time slot that appeared not to move but when it did, it moved like the waters of a wide river and just rolled along. The foolish lament uttered by all children, “There’s nothing to do,” tells how the young and unknowing view time and its passing. The youthful, and not just children, should, because of their age, see a long and wide horizon of time packed with opportunities and possibilities; and I, a 76-year-old man, should see my horizon narrowed by my years. That is not, by itself, bad, but is just the reality of having more in the rear-view mirror than through the windshield.
So our return move is one looking forward through that windshield because we are going to a community in which we lived for eleven years. It is one of friends; it is one closer to grown children and older grandchildren; it is one of our previous church; it is one of home.
But our LKN house is all of the above, too. It, too, is one of our church. It, too, is one of friends. It, too, is one close to family. It, too, is one of home. During our six years on Isle of Pines we have formed friendships, have shared monthly lunch with high school friends, have received wonderful and warm medical care, have worshiped in a great church, have created flower gardens, and have witnessed many beautiful sunrises over our slice of LKN. The years have not dragged but have been a rich, blessed bundle of time.
And there lies the knot of conflict.
For the past few weeks, after I cleaned out my workshop by giving away or selling its contents, I have emotionally worked to separate myself from parts of this life, such as the forest of forty-two pine trees that is our front yard. Sure, they are just trees for strangers, but for me they are part of our home and home for a variety of animal life. A separation also had to be made for the small back garden and our view of the lake, but that is easier because we will have an open view of sunrises over Massanutten Mountain and much space for planting flowers and bushes. But it is still an emotional separation that requires time.
In his essay about Time in This I Believe, An A to Z of Life, Carlos Fuentes writes, “The past occurs today, when we remember. And the future occurs today, too, when we desire.”
So as I marvel at the blooming purple irises next to our back garden gate, I remember how my friend Mike helped me plant them; but I am also planning where I will plant them next to one of the back garden gates of our new Valley home. Caught in that present time of Fuentes I remember, and I desire. One pulls the other pushes. Both are part of my present time and of my conflict, and I realize that “It’s already Wednesday.”