Dear readers: This is our three-hundredth visit to the group of friends on Pine Street over the last six years. We’ve seen them through good and hard times, the arrival of new folk and sad goodbyes to beloved friends, changes in their world, changes in their relationships. Love and rage and fear and joy. Looking back in history, and looking forward in imagination.
What will come next for these friends? I will be as surprised as you to discover the answer to that question.
Franny, back in the first year of her time on Pine Street, wondered too. What comes next? How do we prepare? How do we know anything?
As her answer, she read a poem at her friend Marilyn’s celebration of life. It seems to fit at this moment, years later, just as well.
We’ve spent too much time in useless wandering, searching for the safety
That never lasts.
We’ve spent too much time in worthless fear, seeking the certainty
That doesn’t exist.
The sign from the universe, the white feather, the unicorn, the strike of lightning at precisely the moment we need it: this, all this, is a myth.
The longer we wait for it, the longer we wait. Period.
Waiting is our retreat. Waiting is our denial. Waiting is our excuse.
Our hearts are already broken. What do we have to lose? This is all we need to realize in order to stop waiting, and start living.
Now, this is our time. We come forward, not backward. We step up, not down.
Finding this poem scribbled in her notebook, so many years later, Franny adds a line:
We look at our past selves with compassion, our future selves with anticipation, and at our present selves, here and now, with joy.