It's been a month. And when I say that, yes, I do mean a month without writing on here. And I also mean, Sjoe, it's been a month.
Do you ever have that feeling that, in order to be present to your own life, you just have to hunker down? Sometimes it seems to me that life requires a sort of gathering in, a quietness and focus that creates a deeper, stiller place on the inside. I guess this month required that kind of holding.
This month marked our 7 year anniversary of living in Spain, and with that milestone we are sensing ourselves coming to the end of something, and to the beginning of something new. Of course, this month our eldest daughter was preparing to move to the UK to study for 4 years. As we celebrate and send her out, I find myself thinking of all that the last 7 years have meant in her life.
She arrived here as a fresh-faced pre-teen, about to turn 12. Just as she was starting high school, she took the courageous decision to plunge into language immersion by attending school in Spanish. My brave and beautifully sensitive girl! That decision saw us embark on quite the rocky journey, along which she navigated through three different schooling contexts, and through the complexities of teen friendships.
It wasn't easy for her, and it sure as hell wasn't easy to know how to support her as a parent. It was hard not to feel responsible for moving her here, you know? As we come to this place of closure and new beginnings, I see the grit and grace that's being worked into her life and wonder at the ways the struggle might still offer her its gifts.
Just as this 7 year season is gathered into a place of closure for our daughter, we also sense some sort of completion of the season in our own lives. It's natural, I'm sure, for our inter-connected lives to mirror one another in certain ways. And it also speaks to me of the orderliness of things, that can seem so unpredictable and chaotic at times. There's a rightness, I sense, to all this shifting.
While prepping Keziah to launch out, then, Tim and I have been traversing a rather intense and very intentional time of discernment. It has been a time to ask ourselves, what do we want the next season to look like? I am sure the times in which we are all living have bumped many of us towards such questions! Given that Tim celebrated a milestone birthday at around the same time as local lockdown, it is unsurprising to be reimagining our place here in Spain and the ways our particular gifts and dreams might play out in the next season.
During this time, I have been incredibly grateful for the support of a Spiritual Director who is new to me. Based in South Africa, she is trained (and trains others) in the Ignatian tradition and has offered such an intentional way of moving through this time of transition. I will write more about the process on my website, as I feels sure this signposting of the discernment process would be helpful to many of you.
There's a sweetness and a vulnerability, isn't there, in leaving the security of the shore we know and setting out into something new. We sense the goodness of the invitation to move forward, and yet we are anxious to know that we are heeding the directions correctly, following the signposts accurately. We are conscious of the others who will be impacted by our decisions, and concerned to pay careful attention to the whisper of the Spirit, as well as to our own hearts.
So all that has been going on. And in the meantime, I have been giving time and attention to a writing project that is close to my heart. Any writers out there will be aware that the road towards a final publication is not always straightforward. There have been good and difficult challenges to my own writerly thoughts, which all requires processing. And as you know, life happens in the complex context of our own personal journeys towards wholeness, which can mean there's a lot to hold sometimes, right?
But hold it we can, if we are just willing to embrace what is real about ourselves, in this moment. Sometimes that demands a month without blogging. So be it - it's all good.