Wendy and I are moving tomorrow for the 10th, maybe 11th time in the past five months. All is well. Our home is under reconstruction, and living there with the roof off and pounding hammers all day has not been one of our options.
So, it has blessedly been an amazing assortment of hotels, stove-less mini-apartments, drive-thru windows, delicious Asian restaurants, VRBOs, dear family and dear friends' homes, and our wonderful synagogues' guest facilities.
Our daughter, Jessie, advised us at the onset that we ought to consider these next eight-or-so-plus nomadic months as an "adventure." Very wise words, and generally they have been helpful.
Until three weeks ago, we didn't even know where we'd be living starting in late August. That's when our family returns from their summer in Idaho. People kept asking us, "So, where are you guys going to live in September when you have to get out of Jessie, Jesse, and the grandkids' home. What's next?"
We didn't know, so our answer has been hopeful and somewhat naïve: "We don't know, but we're learning how to trust in the Universe and not go too crazy. But if you hear of any place for us to stay, please let us know!"
So, more conscious breathing, more trusting, more letting go, and more daily exercise...sometimes seven days a week.
Back to school, again and again.
Keep the above line in the back of your brain as you read on...
It hasn't been that easy.
A few weeks before we had to move out of our home in April, I came down with a nasty infection that kicked my butt. My usually dependable antibiotics weren't providing relief, and I became an energy-less basket case as we were entering our rambling "adventure."
As I slowly returned to roughly three-quarters of my normal energy level, the time arrived for my long-overdue ankle surgery. I had too many sprained ankles in my athletic career and walking more than a short distance had become a painful event. After surgery, we would need to find a home with no stairs. As we hoped, prayed and trusted, one was generously provided by our dear family.
Post-surgical life, as many of you have experienced, either as the hurting, hobbling patient or the saint who does the all the driving, cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, while having to be compassionate and upbeat, is not a walk-in-the-park for either party.
But we've had a great home with hardly any steps, which is excellent, as I've had to move around on my not-all-that-stable knee scooter. In the first three days back from surgery, I only took two spills attempting to negotiate the tiny step down from the living room to the sunroom. Only a few gashes on my elbows, but nothing that needed professional attention.
Back to school, again.
In a few days our family will return home, and Wendy and I will move on to our next "home." School starts a few days after that.
In the great book I'm reading, "The Seat of the Soul" by Gary Zukav, he points out that School is never out until the Final Bell rings. And there are universal discussions about what happens then. But while we are here in this lifetime, the need and opportunities for learning are blessedly, endlessly available. No semesters, no vacations, no bells and no summers off. Gary Zukav calls our time here "Earth School."
Here are some of life's key lessons Wendy and I have focused on during these past five wanderings:
- We are not in control of sooo many things. Accept this reality with as much grace as you can muster.
- We can learn to incrementally control our old, less-than-positive default patterns when we rigorously dedicate ourselves to doing so.
- We all screw up sometimes. That's precisely when we notice there is more learning and work for us to do.
- Apologies help. Forgiveness helps. Perfection is not part of this life on Earth, but our continual refinement is.
- Patience is still a virtue. One of the biggest.
- Nothing lasts forever, and tomorrow is another day.
- Ask for help, and always say "please" when you ask.
- Always say "thank you" to your helper.
- When "thank you" is directed to you, always respond with, "you're welcome."
- Always is THE highest standard. Let's all aim high.
Back to school...forever.
- Burt Gershater is a counselor, leadership trainer, speaker and writer. He can be reached at [email protected].