By Joanne Dehmer, SSND

These past months have marked a significant time of my life:  I turned 70, celebrated 50 years of vowed life in community, and moved from my home of nearly 10 years to a senior independent living apartment.  In the midst of all these changes and transitions, I found myself sifting and sorting, remembering and reviewing, letting go of what no longer held meaning – and holding in gratitude what is life-giving.

Externally my move into a smaller living space became symbolic for what was happening inside me.  The same sifting and sorting etc. necessary in my move from a large home to an apartment mirrored my interior life.  Since I was 18 years old I kept journals, stored away, carried from one home to another, with directions given to a close friend that “if I should unexpectedly die – BURN MY JOURNALS.”  In the midst of boxes, some emptied and some filled, cleaning supplies all over the house, people coming and going in an effort to help with my move, I sat on the floor, surrounded myself with my journals and though briefly, intentionally I let them go.  All the stories and emotions they held were in me and I no longer needed their physical presence.  It is then the words of Linda Hogan spoke most deeply to me –

Walking, I am listening in a deeper way.

Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me.

Be still, they say.  Watch and listen.

You are the result of the love of thousands.