My life has been in transition for a while now (retirement, a big birthday, moving, etc). But the truth is that we are always in transition, because life is never static.
As we slowly emerge from a year and a half of pandemic shut down and upheaval, I hear lots of talk about all the changes and all of the ways in which life will never be the same again. But then today I heard a discussion on NPR where the question was asked, “What if we used this time to explore the exciting new possibilities that are emerging in the wake of all this change?” Absolutely mourn the practices and traditions and experiences which have been lost. But also let us remember that there is always more which is yet to come.
The poet Denise Levertov spoke to this in her poem “Only Once”:
“All which, because it was
flame and song and granted us
joy, we thought we’d do, be, revisit,
turns out to have been what it was
that once, only; every invitation
did not begin
a series, a build-up: the marvelous
did happen in our lives, our stories
are not drab with its absence: but don’t
expect to return for more. Whatever more
there will be will be
unique as those were unique. Try
to acknowledge the next
song in its body-halo of flames as utterly
present, as now or never.”
Every moment, every experience is unique. It not only won’t be repeated, it can’t be repeated. But just because we won’t ever again experience that wonderful moment doesn’t mean we will never again have wonderful moments. They will simply be new and unique.
So, let us celebrate all that has gone before, and then let us step boldly into the great mystery of what comes next, trusting that it will be something we cannot even imagine, because it has never before in the whole history of the world been experienced. And that, my friends, is worth celebrating.