The other day I saw that a library in my town had added the word "résilience," written in huge silver capital letters, all across one side of the building. It's much larger than a billboard, and I took it as a message of encouragement from the universe to keep going. It is a reminder that that we can bounce back from adversity, that the human spirit is strong.
Last July 4, my friend called as soon as she got the email I had sent to tell her that my now-ex-husband was leaving me. She's my southern friend here, and she responded to the crisis in the ways that we southerners do. And in my state of absolute displacement, as my home was re-packing his freshly-washed clothes back into his suitcase to take to go to his girlfriend, this familar cultural response was comforting. In that conversation she told me this would be a marathon, not a sprint. I didn't really get it at the time; I thought she was talking about the process of divorce. But now after the long winter, I understand. And I will probably understand even more in another year. Or five. These kinds of major crises fundamentally change people. Yesterday, over lunch at a local diner, a friend told me that he thinks I've changed a lot since last July. I kinda wished I had asked in which ways.
This week is the week of the opportunity I wrote about this winter, the one I stepped out of my comfort zone and asked for. In fact, it's actually Part Two of the overall opportunity because Part One was a few weeks ago in Montréal. Anyhow, things have come together for this project in all sorts of unexpected ways, even including all the funding and free rehearsal space. The project has taken a lot of work, with extensive paperwork for the production side of things. As always, everything has taken longer than expected, from the contracts to the whole timeline of this entire project. The seed of the idea for this project was planted in 2007, and I began the project in 2009. Then there was a first presentation of the work in 2012, and now these two presentations of the revised work. It's been a long time in the making. (And to think I originally thought it would be a 10-month project!) This upcoming presentation feels like a début because it's the first time I am working in my chosen artistic role here, and also the first time to work on my own project in this town I have chosen (and re-chosen) as my home.
Home. I've been thinking about it and researching it since the seed of this project was planted. It's what this project is all about, in fact. A quest for home. And parallel to my project, through an international move, a marriage, a divorce and now a starting over, I've been repeatedly re-defining "home" for myself. I've moved from thinking of it as a location or multiple locations I felt pulled between, to making my home in another person, to being forced out of that home, like an emotional refugee. Now my home is no longer in another person, and it's bigger than a place or combination of places. I'm still figuring it out, but I suspect I am journeying home to myself, a different self than I was before.
In When the Heart Waits, Sue Monk Kidd talks about Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. She says, "When the tempest came, she was standing on the threshold of the too-small house. In that moment she received her call to go on the quest. It came through a crisis swooping down unexpectedly on her. It was her moment of separation, her moment of opportunity." She later adds, "Walking such an inner spiral is the only way home. Dorothy walked the spiral and arrived back where she started, in Kansas, but Kansas wasn't the same. She came home to find a different house—one that was new and spacious."
As I wait for spring, and as I try to be patient, I will also keep re-reading this other passage from When the Heart Waits:
When the timing is right, the cocooned soul begins to emerge. Waiting turns golden. Newness unfolds. It's a time of pure, unmitigated wonder. Yet as we enter the passage of emergence, we need to remember that new life comes slowly, awkwardly and on wobbly wings.
I waited many long months before I felt newness begin to form, and many more before it began to unfold in my life. Gradually—oh, so gradually—my waiting season came to an end. The pain began to diminish bit by bit, as if it had peaked and was now giving way to something new. Many of the questions I'd lived with began to sprout little seeds of insight. Light trickled in. A new vision and way of life began to take shape not only in my head but in my heart and soul as well. It was as if I'd discovered a room inside myself—a wider, more expansive place than I'd known before, but a room that had been there all along.