Photo: There are probably Dear Readers who know what this statue is on Boston Common. I don’t because I’m not a Bostonian. This was my first time on the Common in a really long time.
I was in Downtown Boston on Saturday for a Diocesan training and stepping onto Boston Common as the strangest thing in the world. My time here in Massachusetts runs on a sort of spiraling linear timeline, with places and faces coming up in a cyclical way. It’s funny and strange, bringing up memories and also a little bit of pride. I’ve done a lot since I’ve moved here. I can’t really believe how much I’ve done. Then again, what else was I supposed to do with almost 13 years of my life?
I drove in from the ‘burbs and parked in the Boston Common Garage, which would otherwise be meaningless except that, again, it’s a major starting point for my life here. We lived on Joy Street in Beacon Hill for our first year here in Massachusetts. We came in on a UHaul like every other out-of-town student who has ever come here, but with a 2001 Ford Taurus in tow. Suburbanites that we were, we’d never heard of parking stickers, precious little things that you need if you want to park on the street in Boston. But parking stickers aren’t city-wide, mind you, they are per neighborhood because, you know, of course. But you can’t get one if you have a foreign (Maryland) drivers license, and you certainly can’t get one if your car has foreign (North Carolina) plates. So, for the first 3 weeks of our time here, we were bouncing our car between the free 2-hour spots until ticketing hours were over OR paying the $50 a day to park my sweet baby in Boston Common Garage. A couple hundred dollars when it was all over. Welcome to Boston. Showing up in my Blackmobile, it as strange to be back. Strange to park and emerge back on the Common, a little disoriented. Nope, not going to Joy Street or getting pizza on Charles Street. Nope, gotta cross the whole damn thing and find myself on Tremont.
I won’t tell you about all the misadventures of crossing the Common, but I will say it was all a blast from the past and a reminder of why we didn’t stay in the city for very long. It turns out that St. Paul’s Cathedral is just across the street from the Park Street T entrance. How often,I’d come out from those stairs and go left toward the State House, never looking right to even look at the Cathedral. I wasn’t a church person then. The building meant little to nothing to me at that time.
This isn’t a Quiet Thoughts post, but my Lord if I haven’t been quietly thinking about the journey and what happens along the way. You go through your days saying yes, saying no, moving forward or being pushed backward, yearning for some things while being satisfied by others… and sometimes life brings you back to a spot. Yesterday, you went left. Today, you’re going right. Yesterday, you weren’t ready to turn right. But today, well, today is today.
I spent the day in a little meeting room meeting a whole new cast of characters who will enter my life. Many will likely be peripheral, but I can already tell that others will take larger roles. Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I’m excited to find out what’s going to come of it all. I’m prepared to be surprised. I hope I’ll also be delighted. My church life has been relatively brief, but so far the Episcopal church has pulled me into the strangest and most intriguing places. Massachusetts, too, has forced me to take a closer look and go through unusual doors. “You still want to leave? Peek in here first. Maybe this will finally convince you of something.”
Maybe. Maybe… Maybe.
I guess I’m writing this all on this Monday to simply say: keep your heart and mind open all the time. Your left today may well be your right tomorrow. “No” is a powerful word to be said early and often, but don’t forget that “yes” has a hell of a lot of potential. A yes now can surely turn into a no later… but do indulge in the yes from time to time. What’s old can become new again. The newness will remark on the oldness. Hold on tightly to both. They are the lyrics to the song of your life.
A reminder: the next few weeks are crazy for me. I’m skipping Wednesdays for the next three weeks. So I’ll see you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.