Yes, I know, I am pushing the envelope in terms of Webster’s definition of condensation. Think not of vapor condensing into liquid; rather of the process of becoming more concentrated. Think condensed milk, concentrated orange juice, sauce reduction when cooking; life being distilled to its essence – my experience over the last few years, intensified by the recent admonition to ‘those of a certain age’ ( and now everyone) to stay home until the threat of this pandemic passes.
I would venture that we all come to this chapter of life in different ways and for a variety of reasons other than simply age. Commencing this chapter was of necessity for us. Leaving our beloved family home, our accustomed life, much of what we had worked for…..made this transition a bitter pill. Intellectually we could get our heads around it, rationalize it, even embrace it. Our hearts were another matter.
We are now condensed into what we fondly call ‘the cottage’, with far less space and fewer possessions. Having placed beloved pieces in good homes; stored the miscellany in neatly labeled and numbered stacks of white-lidded boxes; found joy in new neighbors and new friends.
Although I still miss the previous chapter of my life (I reread it often in my mind and a piece of my heart remains in a sunny lemon orchard), I have learned that condensation can be positive. The flavor of life itself becomes more intensified and sweet. We are being distilled down to the essence of who we are; reduced from worry and regret, to numbering our blessings, giving thanks for where we are….trusting God.
“Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped for. Grieve the losses. Feel the pain. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.”
– John Piper –