I came across this quote awhile back, and yesterday as I sat reading in the park in the center of Antigua, catching bits of Spanish conversation buzzing around me and reflecting on my life, I was reminded of it:
“The time is ripe for looking back over the week, the year, and trying to figure out where we have come from and where we are going, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are, and who, for better or worse, we are becoming. But again and again we avoid the long thoughts. We turn on the television maybe. We pick up a newspaper or book. We find some chore to do that could easily wait for the next day. We cling to the present out of wariness of the past. We cling to the surface out of fear for what lies beneath the surface.
But there is a deeper need yet, I believe, and that is the need – not all of the time, but from time to time – to enter that still room within us where the past lives on as part of the present, where the dead are alive again, where we are most alive to ourselves, to the long journeys of our lives with all their twistings and turnings and to where our journeys have brought us.
There we will find, beyond any feelings of joy or regret, a profound and undergirding peace, a sense that in some unfathomable way, all is well.” -Frederick Buechner
The time feels right for looking back. I am starting new, starting fresh, moving forward. My mind tells me I should be sifting, analyzing, searching for things done and undone. But even in the park alone with my thoughts, in my room alone with my journal, I can’t get myself to muster up any evaluations, to come to any conclusions.
My mind usually reels; it’s my modus operandus. The silence is what unnerves me.
These last few days, however, my first days in this new place, I’ve encountered a friendly silence, a peaceful cessation of thoughts and worries and concerns.
When I look back, I don’t feel either joy or regret. When I think about the last year and how heartbroken I was when I learned I couldn’t keep my job and live in Guatemala, when I think about the bewilderment of burnout and the weight of decision making that anchored me to the ground, when I think about the dream job I now possess in my dream location, I am overwhelmed with a sense a peace.
I still can’t believe my journey with all its twistings and turnings has brought me here, to Guatemala. That I type these words from my new room in Antigua, the place I have dreamed of living, is in itself a miracle.
Here in this place I have found, “beyond any feelings of joy or regret, a profound and undergirding peace, a sense that in some unfathomable way, all is well.”
And that is a gift a thousand times over.