I used to resent the many hellos and goodbyes in my life. I felt the hole, the emptiness in the house when the kids were at their dad’s. Then, when they returned, I worried over every moment I spent away from them. I suffered under the transience of people in my life: Dar when he still had his apartment, my family and friends who live in other corners of the world.
Hello! I missed you! How are you? And the kids? And then it’s time to say goodbye. And then hello again! How are you? How’s the family? Did you end up getting that job? And goodbye again. How can I live a life when people pop in and out, when I pop in and out, the lives of everyone else? If only the kids were here full time, I thought. Or, if only Dar and I lived together. I wished for continuity, one stable person in my life to whom I wouldn’t continually have to say goodbye.
For a while, my wish seemed to come true. Dar moved in with us and, being between jobs, we spent a lot of time together. Reading my blog to Dar before posting it encouraged me. Seeing him seated opposite me at his desk anchored me to my own pursuits. Watching him planting garlic, potatoes and daffodils in our garden, experimenting with different kinds of soil and locations, created a joyful blanket of safety in my heart. Every daily exchange painted the world in hues of pink and love. My writing blossomed. Stability brought out the best in me. I could feel my creativity pouring out, secure in the happiness of having this one person who is really here for me.
But stability, you know, is fleeting. The Buddhists say the only enduring state is that of change. These last two weeks I got to say a lot of hellos and goodbyes: to family who came for a visit, to Dar who is starting a new job, to the kids as they move back and forth between houses. Yet I don’t feel either the resentment or the lack of continuum anymore. I found other anchors to depend on: my writing, this blog, cooking, my love for the children and Dar, my love for my family and friends. Love and following my dreams ended up improving my tolerance for impermanence, filling up the emptiness and holes from before.
I like to think that my life is a river. When the current is fast, it leaves little time for more than a call “Hello!” and “Goodbye!” to anyone I meet on my way. When the current is slow, I savor the wonders of this world. And more often, frightened out of my wits, I hang on to a bush (which usually turns out to be a blackberry with many thorns) by the riverside, resisting where the current wants me to go. But the river always flows on, and the scenery always changes. As I do, too. And I think, altogether, it’s good.