sixty, everything I needed to learn I’ve learned in my 60th year (& now I am ready to attend kindergarten)

22 Aug

I remember vividly a very few events: Pepper, our Dalmatian, dying; my divorce and the day I departed permanently from Barbara; Robert dying on my arms in Toronto hospice; the birth of my children and recently my grandchildren; Keith Russell’s sermon on Good Friday on the difference between cheap and costly grace; Tim Keller’s sermon on Hosea & the nature of a love ‘supreme’ (my word). Rothko’s art work in Houston.  Leaving my beloved MACS. Joey’s death.

I cried at these moments. With joy and pain; in sorrow and remorse and in love and healing. Tears were all that came, no words.  Just water vapours in a brief, very brief second or uncontrollable retching minutes. Silent feeling; or shaming overflow of pain and sadness. Real. Not internal. Real external tears. Eternal.

But my first experience with tears that I can remember was my opening day in afternoon at kindergarten. I say ‘afternoon’ because I quietly and firmly refused to go for two days (And the morning of the third.) In the fifties Kindergarten was full on; all day.

That Wednesday my twin Donald and I left our home. We had lunch in the back store room of an Italian Brooklyn deli.  (New Birth Portrait and pictures here Sitting on two wooden crates, eating quietly (for we were twins and were never to speak or disturb others) we were happy. Donald was looking forward to school. But not me. We walked the two long treeless sunny Brooklyn blocks to school, Our Lady of Grace; we were left by our Mum at a heavy wooden; we were given seats by our teacher, Sister Martha, on opposite sides of what seemed an enormous room  (Paddington like waiting area without the shops.)  And I put my head down and cried. Cried for the remainder of the day. Tears could not be stopped. I couldn’t see or speak. I was alone. A twin alone.

 My 60th birthday is 2 September. (Friends and family I am ‘outing ‘ this day here. No flowers needed. In the UK you throw your own party for a ‘big day’ as this; you bring your own cake & sweets. More on that at a later date. No flowers please.) But, but…I am now ready to attend kindergarten! All day!!

Why? What I have learned in and by this 60th year?

I have learned:

  • People and the beloved leave you (sometimes they simply pass because it is time)
  • I will leave beloved also (as when I moved onwards to London in December) Leaving and moving on is part of life. As Dumbledore states when asked by Harry what is beyond their ‘King’s Cross’ station after Harry’s dying duel and great trial with Voldemort, we move ’onwards.’
  • Your loved ones are always with you; always; in ‘all ways.’ Count on it.
  • Kindergarten is an adventure.  Enjoy the place, people.  Joy in the pace of life and learning.  And the last bit I learned is …
  • My God walks with me. He cries with me. (Hosea 11: 9 & John 11: 33 & 35 ) He lost community; friends and human life. He has the wounds to prove and wash away all doubts, all fears. He was alone but so was, so was I. So He knows. We can be with him always. All ways. We will be with Him. He sits with us. He is the vine (John 15:5) in treeless streets.  (Psalm 1)

He is the emphatic kindergarten teacher who comes by me, sits,  touches and wipes my tears, my years away. And He doesn’t wear plastic gloves. I can feel his hand. Now

 I think I am going to like kindergarten…

 Twitter: @charlesosewalt


2 Responses to “sixty, everything I needed to learn I’ve learned in my 60th year (& now I am ready to attend kindergarten)”

  1. POsewalt August 23, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    Tender , your memories awaken my own and join my hand in yours . Want to go to all day Kindergarten with you.


  1. sixty, everything I needed to learn I’ve learned in my 60th year (& now I am ready to attend kindergarten) | charles osewalt's blog - August 22, 2013

    […] sixty, everything I needed to learn I've learned in my 60th year (& now I am ready to atten…. […]

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