Stepping through the door into a parallel universe.
It occured to me today that I had done just that last Friday; Walked into a parallel universe. A final walk around the school and some photographs of the arrival of a new building on the back of two trucks (exciting), followed by a lively fun-filled lunch with the administration staff; cut short by a quick drive to the airport (thanks George!). One universe came to an end. The door shut before I had a chance to think about what was happening and I was on a plane to Brisbane and a new universe. No more Cairns. No more of many people I had come to love. A few tears squeezed back as I walked across the baking concrete to the plane.
I love being here with my wife in our old home town again, but it really feels like a parallel universe – one with a hermetic seal between it and the previous one.
I don’t think I am the only person ever to imagine such a thing. I also don’t for a minute compare my situation to that of soldiers returning from a combat zone, but I wonder if it would be a world apart from what I feel; farewelling mates, handing back weapons and kit, catching a plane and getting off in a parallel universe in civilian life where all is familiar yet strange. No one wanting to kill you (or in my case, wanting to involve me in their dramas and conflicts); no one depending on you as a team member (in my case, no one looking to me to take the hit for unpopular decisions); and all that hard won experience mixed up with fear and trauma pushed into the background as no longer of immediate relevance. An entirely different (if safe and welcoming) universe. OK, the comparison is a bit contrived (and I can’t remember being afraid in my career – well not really afraid, apart from the time I stood between the door and a very solidly built and violent student who had lost his grip on reality) but it serves to illustrate my point I think. Is such an experience common? Have you ever felt like that (feeling like you have entered a parallel universe, that is)?
The present time is a portal into a new phase of life and it is exciting as my wife and I explore all the exciting new possibilities of our new home and community. It occurs to me though that there have been a number of such jumps between universes in the course of my life. More than once I have left friends and worlds behind. My life experience seems to have been a series of revolutions where the context and the people have changed and looking back is more than a small source of regret. There are many people who were my friends who no longer enter my orbit, not out of any desire by either party but more as if we had stepped through different doors into different universes. I would prefer not to walk through any more such doors. I would prefer to keep and cultivate my friendships rather than grieve for their loss.
Pardon the introspection. It kind of goes with the territory when one retires. It reminds me of the Bible verse in which a wheat seed needs to shrivel and die first before a new plant springs forth. A good analogy. I look forward to sharing with you a description of the new green shoots as they come along!
God (will) bless and nurture you in your life, whatever it brings you and whatever doors you walk through.

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