It seemed like a good idea at the time, but some would call it ‘Murphy’s Law’ that I ended up sitting beneath the sweltering insulated roof of a darkened attic on the three hottest days we have encountered this year so far. Last weekend, a skip dominated our driveway and there was a huge effort made on our part to make full use of it by clearing out any debris that had accumulated in the attic. The weather beckoned me outwards but the skip pushed me back beneath the eaves of our house and there I sat, as others watched the Royal Wedding, surrounded by boxes and a heap of toys and trinkets from the past.
Some have a clear concept of their past lives and the gap between huge events and milestones but the passage of time is always something that out-foxes me. I must confess that the past 18 years of life within Sweetmount Avenue have seemed to go in a flash and have been, as they still are, a very happy time (albeit a busy time at home with three small children for the first 14 years). And so, as Ed wondered would he ever see the light of day again, let alone his wife, lost beneath a pile of old things, I sat and meticulously worked my way through boxes of old photographs, hand-drawn ‘works of art’ by my children, school reports and the smallest of vests; each one an emblem, a dot on a map that traced, quite perfectly, their growth and development throughout their young lives. There in the attic I was rejoicing as well as ‘glowing graciously’ beneath the heat of the roof tiles, yet coming away there was an underlying feeling of loss deep within myself. It’s easier to put on a stiff upper lip; to thank God that the children are all grown, safe and well, while alongside this the reality is that the process of moving on through time hurts.
This concept of moving through life and loss as a process is something that sits well in my understanding and training of late. Cardinal Henry Newman writes “To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” To truly grow, it is necessary to sit within the more uncomfortable places in life - the ‘hot under the collar’ places when the rest of the world is otherwise engaged; to sit surrounded by a myriad of memories - regrets or wrong decisions; endless laughter and precious things; “Look at the stars Abram” God said ‘Pull up the tent pegs of all you know and trust me in where you will go.’ In Christ, we are a nomadic people of no fixed abode. We continuously change as we move through life and face all that our time on earth hands us. God does not pretend that there will always be easy times, but he does assure us that he will be with us in whatever we encounter as he draws us to himself and a deeper understanding throughout the whole journey of our lives.
Rev. Cathy Hallissey Curate-Assistant