I'm down to just one more day in Chicago. I don't feel like I've done a very good job of soaking up all of the best parts of this town in my final weeks. It's funny how everything looks rosier when you begin your goodbyes. I've never felt so nostalgic about my apartment and my noisy neighbors than in these last days as I've packed up my things and started my farewells.
I have been living in the shell of an apartment. It is a strange thing, this liminal space. I feel as though I am without a home or routine, on the threshold of something, in an almost paralyzing state of transition. It has made me grateful for the familiar, for what remains of a routine, and for perspective.
For more than 10 years, I've gathered with the Taize community in Oak Park. When the cantor heard this month's prayer was my last before heading to Seattle, he insisted I take a meditation bench made by the brothers in Taize, France. He couldn't have known this was the perfect gift for this liminal space.
In a moment of doubt and despair last week, a dear friend encouraged me to make use of my new meditation bench and sit quietly for a few moments each morning, in an attempt to still my mind and center my spirit.
It has been a much needed posture of surrender and reverence, remembering the one who works together for the good. The physical act of kneeling, even on the hard floors of my echo-y apartment, has reminded me of the origins of this journey and that in my doubt and despair, surely I speak of things too wonderful for me to know.*
In between the packing and planning, I was making blueberry peach pie for my grandpa's 82nd birthday. We gathered in my parent's backyard oasis to mark the occasion and celebrate summer and family with a latticed pie filled with summer's finest fruits.
Baking a pie was like kneeling on the meditation bench. It was an act of quiet familiarity, an opportunity for me to create and remember who I am.
My meditation bench and my pie plate will be packed into my Subaru along with my other things, starting the trek west with me and my mom on Saturday. Praying for traveling mercies. Praying that Seattle, and all the people and places along the way, will receive us with grace.
So long, Chicago. You will always be my home.