Sunday, May 31, 2009

Thoughts on the threshold

It is less than a month until the wedding, and I feel what the "Conscious Weddings" website describes as "feelings of liminality." Limen is the Latin word for threshold: liminality is the feeling of being at the threshold between two stages of life. That definitely describes me right now. I am moving out on Wednesday, to go to Philadelphia to observe classes at the schools where I interviewed, and then to Wisconsin to put together last-minute plans.

I came to this apartment about eleven months ago. It was completely empty except for Olivia's bookshelf and my three suitcases. In eleven months, we turned it into a home. My photograph of the Shenandoah on the wall, the picture of a tiger I picked up at a curb giveaway, the Wal-Mart accent lamp. Olivia's table a friend gave her, her dishes, our stacks of books. I think of the meals I fed people in this apartment, of the sound of the train when it goes by at midnight, of the leaves that gathered on the porch in the fall.

I leave this apartment as I came to it: in solitude. I arrived here on a July night, late, driven by the airport shuttle. I got the key from the mailbox and let myself in, to find there were no lights except in the kitchen and bathroom. I sat on my suitcase and felt I had started new life. That overwhelming feeling of changes that enveloped me then is returning to me now.

Once again I am alone here: Olivia is gone for the week, though her possessions remain, to temper the emptiness left where my things used to be. I will leave early in the morning, before I would usually be awake, and walk with my two suitcases to the train station. Like I came, I will leave alone, with no one to see me off, as there was no one to welcome me.

Oddly enough, I like that. There is a huge emotion that comes to me when I begin or end a stage of my life. Another presence distracts from it, keeps it from being painful, certainly, but also keeps it from being acknowledged and accepted the way I need to do. When my life is changing, I don't like to be shuffled from one thing to another, to be conversed with and distracted from my thoughts. I like to have a moment of silence.

These few days, as I finish my grading, go to graduation, say my goodbyes, are that moment of silence. Like I did at the beginning, I wake up when I am not tired; I eat when I am hungry; I walk where I need to go. I am self-reliant.

Perhaps I treasure this self-reliance all the more because I know it is the last time. Soon, I will be a married woman, with someone else to answer to. I won't be quite so able to arrange things at my whim. I won't be alone anymore.

I have never been a person who craves solitude as much as company. I like people; I don't like being alone too much. But there are always moments when I need it; when, as a child, I climbed my holly tree to leave the busy world beneath me; or when, in high school, I would wander out to the farthest end of the driveway to pray my rosary where I could look at the sea. Even now, I always like to be the last to go to bed, so that I can settle my thoughts and feelings with myself before I go to sleep.

I ask myself, will I miss this? How will I find the time for this in my new life?

My comfort is that, though I depart alone, I will not arrive alone. I leave here on my own power; I arrive there with someone to catch me. First, the friends in Philadelphia, then my future in-laws when I go to Wisconsin, then --

After that, wherever I go, I will not be alone. I hesitate now on the threshold with my thoughts. But when the time comes, I will be lifted over it. My days of utter self-reliance are over, but a new era is beginning, one where I am received with love, where I am protected, where I have a place and a mission. Nothing is going to be the same, but it will, God willing, be better. I welcome the threshold and embrace it, for I cross over it into a new and wonderful adventure.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Seen on Catholic Answers Forums

"Oh, I agree entirely with the essential social skills development thingie. Fortunately, we have found a way our son can receive the same socialization that government schools provide.

*On Mondays and Wednesdays, I will personally corner my son in the bathroom, give him a wedgie and take his lunch money.

*On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my wife will make sure to tease him for not being in the “in” crowd, taking special care to poke fun at any physical abnormalities.

*Fridays will be “Fad and Peer Pressure Day.” We will all compete to see who has the coolest toys, most expensive clothes and the loudest, fastest and most dangerous car.

*Every day, my wife and I will adhere to a routine of cursing and swearing in the hall and mentioning our weekend exploits with alcohol and immorality.

*If our son attempts to use the bathroom without permission, we will punish him immediately.

*And we have asked him to report us to the authorities in the event we mention faith, religion, or try to bring up morals and values."

Found here. Apparently it's originally from Kolbe Little Home Journal, Fall 2005.

Lately I've been doing research to find out if it is humanly possible to homeschool in Pennsylvania without going bats dealing with the draconian laws. Anyone know?