Thirteen years ago, on the 1st of May, I moved to Vermont. It was a radical thing for me to do, this born and bred Virginian. 54 years old and I had never lived anywhere else. I bought an old duplex, and started knocking out walls the first day I was here. It took a while, but it is home now.
Twelve years ago today, I was in Venice. A year or so after my divorce was done. I had promised myself a trip after it was completed and the family home sold, and randomly picked Italy. In doing so, I discovered a place where I feel more at home than home.
Maybe seven or eight years ago, at the recommendation of a woman I had just begun dating (who was later to become my wife.), I went to Cape Cod for a few days and discovered a place that brings me more peace than anywhere. It was about the same time I took up painting. It was about the same time I answered a call to ministry. Me, broken old me, in ministry. Don’t tell me God does not work in mysterious ways. I’m living it.
Five years ago (on the 20th), I married that woman. It has taken a while for both of us to merge our lives and households and families, but at this point, we have.
Three years ago, my painting having expanded, I began renting my studio, where I spend a lot of my time, working and painting. It is part of my life now, this open space with light and color.
At fifty, I thought I was settled. Little did I know how it was all going to come undone. And redone. There was horror in the path, and doubt, and a lot of building wings as I fell off the cliff. It has been quite the ride, and quite the lesson: We are never done. And often, what we think is the best, isn’t.
One of my favorite quotes is from the Dali Lama: “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” That has certainly proved out for me. And so now, when things don’t work out, I don’t fret. I just look to see what WAS meant to be. Not what I wanted to be.
One of the old tropes you hear is people saying “You’ve changed.” It is often meant as a put down. But not for me. I sincerely hope I have. And that I continue to.
Be well. Travel wisely,
I like this account of your biographical timeline very much, Tom! There are some wonderful nuggets of hard-won wisdom here.
The Dalai Lama is a very wise man!
What a great model for moving forward in life (wherever that may be leading!) Age brings experience and over time I have less and less resistance to unexpected twists. Definitely I have changed! And yup, that isn’t “finished” yet … Thank you for this reflection.