A Musing Amma           Entering a New Decade

This fall I entered a new decade of my life. Advent came beginning a new liturgical year, our calendars turned on January 1,2023, and Epiphany declared again the Light dawning for the world in a new way. Then among our Asian/American friends the Year of the Rabbit or the Year of the Cat appeared. All of these offered a chance for reframing, renewing, re-imagining who I am, what I do, and my aspirations. 

I have had some surprises. 

First, this is a decade in which my body is the leader! For the first time in my life, I have to check in with my body before I make a decision. That part of me so often determines my agenda, my plans, my aspirations. I can make a very good case for regretting that I didn’t do this much sooner, but here I am at this present age, with a cardiologist, a dermatologist, a dentist, an ophthalmologist, a physical therapist, a general practitioner, all at my beck and call, and ready to prescribe for me what I need to do. Yet what my body actually signals to me moment by moment does not always concur or cooperate with said authorities. Is this an invitation to “push through” or is it a warning to do what my body says it wants to? 

In the turning of these new years, I am also starkly aware of the principle of “mutability,” all things changing, all the time. On the most obvious level I am aware that all the local stores have changed hands, all the institutions of which I have been a part have morphed into new shapes, that people coming and  going keep aging, often disappearing beyond my ken. Familiar landmarks are disappearing or repurposed. 

That reality pushes me to beef up my elasticity, and be willing to let go—of things, relationships, even ideals and sureties. How do I discern which are the “eternal” verities and which are only seasonal, dispensable when I am in a new season, our culture, nation and world are in a new season?

These new locations for my present reality lead me to new freedoms, as scary as they may seem. I am not beholden to a boss, an institution, a system, except my inner accountability, my inner Light. I also am free to keep exploring more and more about the wide world that God loves. With my husband we are reading about pilgrimages, marine biology, Black history, Asian-American experience, memoirs of locations utterly different from our own, parts of the world we will never see. There seems to be no limit!

Under and around it all is something that does not change, an awareness and a trust in the Mystery we call God. Sacred text tells us that the Holy does not change, yet through human history the Mystery had been experienced in Presence and Image and Word of many kinds. So is my own experience of the Holy One, entering a new decade, ever changing, ever new, inexhaustible and surprising—but constant, reliable, and compassionate. That reality for me makes the entering into all the change and decay, newness and surprise possible for me to anticipate, even to look forward to. Here I go!