Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"And When October Goes...."

I'm resurrecting an entry originally posted October 28, 2009. The sentiment is just as true today. October continues to be a time of transition for me. As of today, I am legally divorced and single. October focuses me on family, home, and life's journey. Good thing I love this month...

Johnny Mercer said it well, "I should be over it now, I know. It doesn't matter much how old I grow. I hate to see October go."

I think the colors this year have been more vivid than I have remembered in many years. Maybe I always think that, but there are just some unusually spectacular looking trees out there. And they've just started to go past their peak. It's such a short time to really enjoy them.

To indulge my melancholy a little more before I shut it off, it isn't lost on me that the year is quickly coming to an end. Once Halloween is through, it is a sprint to New Year's Day, or so it seems.

It's been an interesting week. I witnessed a wedding of two lovers in middle age. A love that has not aged in 20 years, but rather has deepened and strengthened. Wonderful, affirming, and worshipful.

I also learned that a good friend has cancer. Again.

Two very different events in the space of a few days.

It fits with my melancholy mood, my realization that the Octobers are coming a little faster each year. I am reminded this week that life is precious and precarious. What dreams do I need to let go? What dreams do I need to pursue? What new twists does life have in store? What do I need to do to continue to live my life intentionally and with purpose? What do I need to do for my children as they grow before my eyes?

What do I need to do before it's too late?

Okay, enough melancholy.

What I need to do is enjoy life, with all its twists and surprises, joys and sorrows, and all the wonderful, amazing people I know and love. And to let them know how much they mean to me.

What we really need to do before it's too late, is to fully live our lives.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Isn't this gorgeous?

No, it's not New England. It's Grinnell.

Those of us raised in the Congregational side of the UCC family are familiar with the quirky way our forebears commemorated our pilgrim ancestors. We grow up going to church camp at Pilgrim Heights. We sing from the Pilgrim Hymnal. We attend churches with "Plymouth" in the name. And, when we grow up, we retire to Mayflower Community.

This photo was taken today in the courtyard in the midst of Buckley, Beebe, Pearson, and Altemeier Halls. Stunning, isn't it?

And, as a 45 year old person, I find the Mayflower Community pretty darned neat. I'm not ready to go today, but someday, it may be home. Mayflower started in the 1950's as a ministry of the Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ. The mission was to provide a home for retired clergy who spent their entire ministries in church-sponsored housing, (call it the Manse or the Parsonage) and upon retirement, had no equity in a home.

Today it is a community with a wide variety of housing options, from homes, to duplexes, patio homes, apartments, assisted living, memory support, and skilled care. It is a beautiful place.

The people are great -and do not let the grass grow beneath their feet. They are auditing classes at Grinnell College, or they are conducting a "bucket class" on astronomy and cosmology at Iowa Valley Community College. (these folks are re-inventing "adult education.") They are crafters, writers, poets, artists, gardeners, travelers, sages, and saints. They even have one of the nicest English-style pubs in the county.

I love the tag line in their radio ad. "Think you know about Mayflower? Think again."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Picking up where we left off... more than 20 years ago

By a random assignment, four young women were brought together in a dormitory at the University of Iowa. Betsy and Kathy were two doors down, and Barbara and I were in 1214. Throughout the next four years, at least two of us lived together.

Life gets busy when we all go our separate ways at graduation. Barbara to California. Kathy to the Chicago area and I went to Omaha. Making our way into our adult lives takes a lot of time and energy. Despite best intentions, we drifted apart.

All of us are now married and well established in our careers and families. And through Facebook, of all things, we reconnected and planned a reunion for Homecoming Weekend. With Betsy settling in Iowa City to raise a family, it was perfect. I, for one, am secretly jealous of her still living in Iowa City.

How easy it was to be together! Twenty years just fell away and we simply picked up where we left off. I feel like I have three new best friends. We're not waiting another 20 years and in fact, we've already got next year's reunion set for October 1, UI Homecoming 2010.

Is there someone in your past who should be in your present? Find a way to reconnect. Life is short. Find a way to make it happen.