Lory and I bought our house thirteen years ago. It’s a colonial, built in 1929 – solid construction, to be sure. It’s in a very convenient location, just off the Post Road. We can, and do, walk across to Sherwood Diner, Walgreens, the cleaners, Starbucks, my optometrist, and several other places we frequent. We’re a mile from Staples High, where Carlyn is a junior.
“Location, location, location.” It’s not pretty – a car dealer is between our house and the Post Road, and the public works department is across the street. But it is convenient.
Last summer Lory started to explore the possibility of a new kitchen. It took a lot of planning and preparation, and before she was through she included the half-bath downstairs, off the kitchen, and Carlyn’s bathroom, upstairs.
The big project began on the first of March – a crew came in and tore things out. What a mess! The eighty-year old plumbing was replaced along with some major structural work. Then came the new walls, ceilings and tiled floor.
Meanwhile, we’ve been using a little dorm refrigerator and a small microwave in the dining room, carrying water from the remaining upstairs bathroom.
Now the appliances are being installed and we’re seeing some light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. I resisted the project, but Lory persisted; and the changes are happening. Even improvements mean change, however, and one tends to prefer old kitchens and baths to new, uncertain ones.
Change is loss, and after a certain age, when so many loses have accumulated, even change for the better is upsetting – routines are broken; it’s disorienting.
But change is inevitable, and it’s better to be in charge of some of the change, since there’s so much change over which we have no control.
We do have friends, however, and the more change and challenge we face in our lives the more we value those old golden friends.
The Roman philosopher and statesman, Seneca, summarized it nicely: “What a blessing is a friend with a heart so trusty you may safely bury all your secrets in it, whose conscience you may fear less than your own, who can relieve your cares by his conversation, your doubts by his counsels, your sadness by his good humor, and whose very looks give you comfort.”
We value those friends, and we hope to be the kind of friend that fits Seneca’s description.
Lines I recently used in a Sunday sermon from the poet Stanley Kunitz have been rolling around in my head like a song that keeps repeating itself:
To be alive, aware and actively involved is to be immersed in change. Bring it on!