“Transitions are never comfortable,” claims spiritual writer Margaret Silf. “They make your feet ache, they make your head ache…worst of all, they make your heart ache.” (The Other Side of Chaos, p. 3-5).
Last week, I re-read my journals from 2014, when we decided to leave our three-story townhouse condo and move across town to a 55+ high rise condo. I remembered my feet aching, my head aching, and my heart aching.
But I also recalled the anticipation mingled with the sadness as we prepared to leave Candlewood Crescent in Waterloo for King St. East in Kitchener.
We talked the other day about why we chose to make a move then, at a younger age than most seniors. We liked many things about our house, and about our location in Waterloo.
But we became increasingly nervous about living in a house with a flight of stairs between each living area, and with a downstairs washroom on a landing rather than on the same level as the kitchen/living/dining room. We also acknowledged that we didn’t need a place to host family dinners or to entertain grandchildren. And we didn’t have children to tell us “It’s time to move!” We had to be proactive.
Then our cat Maggie, who we knew would not tolerate a move, had to be put down. “Well,” we said. “Let’s at least look around.”
So we called a realtor and started looking. We found two viable possibilities, both in Kitchener, and eventually took the plunge. The spaciousness of our new unit and our view from the 10th floor sealed our choice.
Before we moved, I dedicated a section of my journal to writing down the things I loved and would dearly miss about Candlewood. The orange brick façade. The fireplace and mantle in the living room. Our small fenced in garden out the patio door, with its chippies, rabbits, neighborhood cats and mourning doves, which animated Maggie and entertained us. We also knew we’d miss Uptown Waterloo with its Princess Theatres, the old Marbles restaurant, and many coffee shops (including Starbucks for Sam).
As always when we’ve moved, we wrestled with how much decorating and renovating to do at our new place, and how much to “take it as is” for now.
The difficulty of stripping off old wallpaper glued to the drywall became a serious issue to be resolved. We also needed to figure out how to make our space soundproof enough for me to offer confidential spiritual direction.
Yet shortly after we moved I wrote:
“My overriding feeling this morning is gratitude – gratitude that we have been able to make this move, do this downsizing, and do it together. Gratitude for the wonderful view. Gratitude that each room is as lovely as I had imagined. Gratitude for Rockway Gardens, for the trees and the golf course across the street.”
In my journal I also noted:
“What I keep being stunned by is the sky. It is so beautiful in the morning and the evening. The panorama is wonderful. It makes we want to weep. That view is now mine.”
I thought about our move to Eastwood as an adventure – getting to know another part of the city, being among the youngest people in the building, living in a high rise again (as we did when we were first married). And I loved the surprises, like seeing the sun reflect off the high buildings in downtown Kitchener during the morning “golden hour.”
One of my last moving-to-Eastwood entries in 2014 reads like this:
“I do give thanks for being led this far – for being at 1414 King. I think it will be a good place for us, no matter how life unfolds”….
I’m glad I can reflect on our move four and a half years later by reading my 2014 journal. It has been a good move.
Questions for Reflection:
- How have sadness, gratitude and anticipation mingled for you as you’ve downsized or in other kinds of transitions?
- What has kept your spirit nourished during these chaotic times?