During my recent week off to recover from moving house and getting repairs underway to my leak-damaged home, I recieved this note from a long-time reader:
What a drag! And what a major hassle. I loved watching you transform your apartment into the efficient but yet calming and personal space that it is. After all that work for this to have happened must be very disheartening.
This too shall pass and good cheer in getting through it all.
It sparked memories of the many details I undertook years ago to transform the space from a warren of narrow rooms into a bright “laboratory” that would make my life and work seamless……
I knew intellectually that the place would age and wear and even wrote about it, posting an image of it deeply aged, as though from some long ago past, which it one day will be.
I didn’t imagine that there might be an event which would impact it as much as this recent one has: serious damage caused by the tiniest of leaks in an ice maker line. Like a thread being pulled, one repair has led to another and another: ripped out floors requiring that part of the kitchen be rebuilt, and the entire floor painted which has meant everything —and me—being moved out…
Now, the shiny new repairs stand in sharp contrast to the life-worn walls; the notion of perfection I once held is as worn as the walls.
In some ways, I seem to have come full circle: the image at top taken just a few days ago echoing the renovation 6 years ago. The difference is that I have the opportunity to view what has happened differently now, take the lessons it offers (there are MANY)…
…Perhaps the most powerful lesson, of late, is about impermanence. As I camp with my mountain of stuff in a rented apartment, lining up repair people, I hear from friends of heart-breaking challenges, of dearly loved family members struck suddenly with terminal illness, and in their passing, profoundly altering the world of those they leave behind.
I come back to these words:
Things... come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that.
The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.
— Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart
I find myself amazed at this lesson about that ordinary state of affairs that I keep learning over and over. Everthing is changing at every moment.