I made one last call to my home before I left for Toronto’s Pearson Airport. Patricia and I were readying to fly back to Paris. My mother’s voice was clear, yet I knew instantly something was a little off. Medication does that, the sharpness is dulled a bit. She told me the barn next door burnt down to the ground. “It was like a sunset,” she said. Sunset, ah yes, the end of one day getting ready for the brightness of another. I was deeply saddened, yet another familiar signpost of my past gone forever. And I love barns. During this past visit I did get to my home a few times between speaking engagements and I kept taking pics of my teenager-era barn, now a paltry shadow of its glory days.
Relinquishing our past to the sunset isn’t easy.
“Sir, your flight has been canceled,” the kind lady behind the counter said. “But we’ll get you home!” I knew what she meant, we would have many more added hours of travel and an inordinate share of complaints coming from me! Waiting again. Apparently there was another fire at the airport in Montreal where we were to catch another flight. Now I had to wait six hours to fly to New York’s JFK. Not too happy. I guess I don’t like airports or waiting or both!
And then after squishing my legs into my seat space on my final flight I think about Mom, about the smouldering ashes of our next door neighbour’s once-a-beauty of a barn. And then back to Mom and her telling me it was like a sunset. My mom is soon to have her sunset, inoperable cancerous tumours have taken away her ability to walk, to enjoy so much of life. Now she is waiting for that special flight, her sunset, to take her to the place she’s been booked in for a long time, The Father’s House. Waiting. Uncomfortable. Pain. So not at home in her body.
Travel is never easy. Air travel for tall guys like me is very uncomfortable. It challenges all your senses. You never get enough to eat. It doesn’t allow you any rest. It makes you want time to speed up a lot bit faster. “I need to get home, now!” Waiting.
And we all do want to get home, that place where we truly belong. I wrote these thoughts high above the skies in my seat. In a few hours I will descend to my apartment in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. Lower below these fluffy clouds, Mother is probably sleeping in her hospital issued bed, and will likely soon ascend home. Right now we are both waiting, both uncomfortable, yet both knowing the best is soon to come.
Mom’s sunset is not long away. She will enter a paradise of continual joy-days. She’s ready. When I think of the end of my long trip and arriving to my Paris-dise, I am strangely warmed. I have many more sunsets to enjoy. As I hold dear the moments of the past, it opens up for me a future panorama of goodness that speaks loud of a better day for all of us. Until my final sunset I will pursue better days for my life, yes, our lives and for the world I call home.