Saturday, September 23, 2006

As the grass withers: finding balance at the equinox

The autumnal equinox reminds us of the balance between light and dark. In much the same way, our lives are balanced between joy and pain. At the equinox we consider the inevitability of change in the seasons as well as in our lives.

Another blogger put it this way: Autumn announces that the world is always changing, always in flux. We tend to think of stasis as the norm, when in reality, if we are paying attention, our whole beings are in constant process. Our bodies and our souls. Change can feel threatening until we realize that tending to this constant unfolding process speaks to us of a God who is dynamic and creating newness at every moment, holding out possibility at every turn.

I just finished a busy weekend showing some relatives from the West Coast around my beautiful and chaotic city. It's fun to see the city through their eyes and realize what a treasure it is. It was their first time here so everything was new and exciting. We did the usual stuff: Chinatown, Staten Island Ferry, bagels, pizza, subway delays, etc. But the best, by far, was walking through my neighborhood - looking at the many kinds of architecture and front yard decor, getting coffee around the corner in the morning, climbing to the roof to look at the BQE, picnicking in Prospect Park, and watching my neighbor hanging out her laundry.

The last four years have been full challenges and unexpected adventures. I'm certainly not the same person, emotionally or spiritually, that I was when I arrived. Four years ago, I was so confident - sure of what we had chosen to do and what we could accomplish. There was some degree of trepidation to be sure, but mostly optimism and determination.

Four years later, I am no less optimistic or determined. Nonetheless, there is a pain in the center of my hear that brings me to tears more often than I care to admit. Something of the shine has worn off. I've been worn down by the constant struggle to push ahead, the constant need to make decision and try desperately to look into the future and see what we should be doing next.

And yet..... I have come to know some of the most amazing and wonderful friends. There are people in my life that, although I have not known them very long, I trust with my heart. These are certainly people brought into my life for a purpose and not because I went looking for companions.

I have come to know my life-partner more fully than ever before. We've found ourselves in some very dark places and walked patiently together until the sun came out again.

I have learned to stop now and again and release myself into the mercy of my Creator. Today I read Psalm 90:

Lord, you have been our refuge
from one generation to another.

Before the mountains were brought forth
or the land and the earth were born
from age to age you are God.

You turn us back to the dust and say,
"Go back, O child of the earth."

For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past
and like a watch in the night.

Ironically, the idea of my temporality gives me comfort. It really doesn't matter what I do. At the end of the day - We fade away suddenly like the grass.

So my troubles are only opportunities to fall again on the mercies of God and cry for help to my Father/Mother/Creator/Friend.

Of course I hope things get better and more stable, but I'm not expecting it any time soon. In fact, I look forward to the long slow process because I know the journey will be it's own reward.