So I’m back in Atlanta….
I got up early and started the morning sitting on my front porch, sipping a cup of coffee and enjoying the quiet. I thought about how easy it was to start the day this way up in the mountains. No need to remind myself to start slow and quiet–it just seems like the natural thing to do.
After that, I finished unloading the van–I left the big pieces of furniture in the garage, rather than trying to haul them up a flight of stairs all by myself. Then I showered, dressed, and headed off for my first day at my new job.
My “morning commute” was a fifteen minute drive on a mountain road. A little different from Atlanta….
I spent the rest of the morning starting to settle into my new office–putting books on shelves, and pictures on top of file cabinets. I signed a bunch of papers and made an appointment with my dean.
Then my phone rang.
My wife called to tell me that her father’s condition continues to deteriorate. It was unlikely we were talking about weeks anymore. Most likely, her father would pass away in the next few days. She needed me to come back to Atlanta by tonight to take the kids, so that she could stay with her mother without the additional distraction.
So, six hours later, and here I am.
I wish I could say that I was the epitome of compassion when my wife called, but to be honest all day, on and off, I have been fighting against feeling pretty selfish, irrational, and immature: this was not how I imagined my first day of our new life in the mountains! How am I supposed to enjoy this great, new beginning when now it is all tangled up in a death?
It embarrasses me to own up to such petty feelings, but that’s what I was struggling with today.
So now I’m trying to roll with whatever comes our way. My wife is back with her parents, sitting by her father’s side. I am back in our “old” house (yeah, yeah I know: I only left yesterday but that’s how it feels), surrounded by all sorts of packing and cleaning that still needs to be done. More likely than not I will be attending a funeral soon. If not soon, then I will be heading up to the mountains again with the kids by this week’s end.
Much as I was certain I had a hard-and-fast deadline, and a timetable to contend with (start work on this date; finish packing up the house by that date), now all bets are off.
And honestly: isn’t that the way things usually turn out when you think you have nailed life down to a schedule?
So: I have a choice. I could rail against reality, and insist that the world should be the way I say it should be. Or, I could accept what I cannot change, and adapt to the world as it presents itself.
In all honesty, it will probably end up being a mixture of the two, but lets hope there’s more accepting than railing over the next few days.