How does change happen?
Answer: At fifty miles an hour in a Uhaul long truck on a clear day with a view of two mountains.
I trundle out of town, the whole of my family’s worldly possessions in a juggernaut behind me, and I am acutely aware of my surroundings. The traffic. The pedestrians. Asian restaurants, cannabis houses, panhandlers, the rugged roads of Portland’s east side, old houses and even older trees, everything hot and grungy.
Character, adventure, endless fascinating things to behold. My home of more than a decade.
There comes a point in development when one is able to perceive, then describe and critique their surroundings. An individual is frequently led to this point through leavings and letting go.
When you leave something, you develop the perspective on it you need to truly know it.
When you let something go, you develop the insight you need to truly appreciate both it and existence without it.
The deepest understanding of the world is to be found, not in holding on and accumulating things, but in leaving and letting go. Perhaps one could fairly say that one who has never left – never departed from their home, their family, their community, their way of life – has never truly known or understood anything. Similarly, one who has never let go of any item, or possession or feature, opportunity or dream has never truly understood freedom.
I perceive the culture and texture of Portland so clearly now that I am driving through her as a resident for the last time.
Fitting, that the Christ Year should end with a leaving and letting go. I am leaving the home I have known and loved, and which has come to define a huge part of me. I am letting go of an image, an experience, a way of life – that of a Portlandia. We do everything in grand style, with excellence, and just a little bit weird. We’re rich. We’re beautiful. We’re socially conscious. We’re open-minded(or sharply close minded about our openness). We’re us. We’re unique and we’re proud.
Who am I when all that is stripped away? What do I have left? Is the fundamental element of my life something worthwhile, that can survive the twenty minute drive to my new home in the suburbs?
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
God, have mercy on me and save my soul, save my family. Preserve us in Your life and fill us with Your love. May our home be full of Your grace, Your peace, Your hope and everlasting love.
I’ll hold on to these things, and never leave them ever.