I’ve been thinking a lot lately about transition. Endings and beginnings.
Every ending is also a beginning. Still, as I was filling boxes yesterday with my daughter’s books and mementos and clothes to take to her new apartment in NYC, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of…I don’t know, bittersweet joy/sorrow/pride. So proud of my baby moving into her new home and realizing that my baby has her own home. And my eldest is graduating from university and starting her career. Career. What a word! And our middle child finished the army and starts university this autumn.
And Bob and I are moving to Israel. And leaving not just our children, but aunts and uncles and cousins and siblings and parents.
It’s a lot…this thing called life. This thing called change.
In transition moments like this, I pull out one of my favorite ever poems, One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop, where she explores the inevitability of loss—of items, cities where we’ve lived and places we’ve loved, and people.
Though the first line reads the art of losing isn’t hard to master, I think Bishop’s poem explores just how hard it is to lose, how human it is to be attached, how deeply we love. It’s the last two lines that always pull me in—the art of losing’s not too hard to master; though it may look like (Write it!) like a disaster. There, in those final words she hints, maybe admits that yes, it’s hard.
And it’s part of life—the spring that turns to summer, the children who grow up, the creaky bones that need calcium tablets, and the people we say goodbye to. But, Bishop’s poem also celebrates the beauty that can be created in such moments. She reminds us that, when we walk with mindfulness and presence through our life, through all the beginnings and endings, there is great beauty to be experienced.
So really, the art of losing, is also the art of beginning, the art of loving deeply, the art of living.