Wednesday, May 21, 2008

30 days: Lesson One 

Dammit, I’m not going to give up. I was poised to give myself a break, back off from this space until such time as I felt able to make better use of it. But hope isn’t dead yet. I ordered Paul Hawken’s ‘Blessed Unrest’ from Amazon the other day, and already, even having read only the first few pages, the I can see grounds for Hawken’s optimism. And today, this post from Gift Hub says something very similar. Together, they give just enough impetus to get back here and give it a go.

I still haven’t made good on my promise to share what I learned on Chris Corrigan’s 30 day learning journey. Remember my theme?
"In what ways could I change the way in which I think about my world, and how would that be helpful?"

Maybe now, sitting in the office at lunchtime isn’t the optimum time for this; I wrote more in my journal one quiet Sunday morning about a month ago, but I’ve learned that writing that merely copies out yesterday’s thoughts loses spontaneity, it’s better to write with the feelings of today, even though those feelings may not be as intense as those of yesterday.

I’ve said many times over (so many times in fact that I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it) that I wish there was some Great Work that I could do – something which made a worthwhile tangible difference to this world, something I could look back on with pride and say ‘Yes, it was worth my being here’. It didn’t have to be big, but it did have to give me a sense of personal worth.

Well, the penny finally dropped. I’ve been doing it – my Great Work – all along; in fact the biggest part of it is nearly finished. And yes, I do look back on it with pride; that, and humility and awe and incomprehension that it has turned out so well. And, it has to be said, a certain amount of sadness that it’s nearly over; moments have passed which can never be repeated.

What is it? Nothing more or less than bringing up our children. It’s been our focus ever since they were born; all the big decisions in our lives have been made with their wellbeing – present and future – in mind. Not that we’ve pandered to them; we were still in charge, and decisions made for their good may not always have been popular, but through it all we’ve managed the transition in relationship from parent-child to adult-adult and remained the best of friends.

I could probably say more, but as I say, those thoughts are captured in a notebook sitting at home, whilst I’m here at work. If I wait until later, something else will divert me; half a story now is better than none later. I know that as I wrote those thoughts in my journal a month ago there were tears in my eyes – tears of joy, and recognition and love.

And now it’s nearly over; this phase is, anyway. Our eldest son, the one who spent 6 months in Afghanistan, moves out into a flat of his own next month. His brother, just now completing his post graduate certificate in education, has taken a 2 year teaching contract in Lusaka, Zambia and leaves in August. Only our daughter will remain at home, for a while, once she finishes her music degree next month.

We sit on the verge of becoming empty nesters. One of life’s major phases almost over, another about to begin. I guess it’s no wonder I feel ill at ease.

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