Cogitation 23/201 Friday 7 June 2019 Twelve miles and 42 years in our former home separate us from a new start in retirement living in Goshen, Indiana. For me it’s having lived in the City of Elkhart for 50 years. Change we can, and do.
We’re fairly newly at home at Greencroft Goshen, a Continuing Care Retirement Community of 1,200 residents. We’re finding our way around, with forward-looking steps, I like to think.
Getting started in our new community
- We’re checking out the variety of walking paths in Goshen and area. We’ve walked to the public library (4 miles round trip), the mill race (7m RT), the Winona Railway Trail (3m RT), and one of a variety of coffee shops (3m RT). Paved paths and sidewalks predominate, though we’ve found alleys and off-street trails too, with more to explore. The 175-acre Greencroft campus itself has more than 11 miles of sidewalks and paths.
- Planting a handful of flowers and three tomato plants in pots. Remembering those plantings we left behind, especially those planted in memory of a loved one.
- Learning to know neighbors and staff at Greencroft Goshen and in the larger community. This, of course, is the biggie. We’re part of a new community with its own routines, services, opportunities and supports for our re-firement in the years ahead.
- Getting the directions south, north, west and east straight.
- Finding stores and businesses, though we’ve patronized some before, Downtown offers a good variety, including shoes, florist, clothier, hardware, jewelers, fine gift shops, and more, including the Goshen Farmers Market now celebrating 20 years.
- Noting the variety of restaurants and cafe’s at hand, including American, Mexican, Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese, and more.
- Reviewing options for professional health care.
- Discerning the interim period between being immersed in our long-standing church congregation and finding a congregation close to home–or it finding us.
- Exploring the wealth of cultural life offered at Greencroft, in the wider community, and especially at nearby Goshen College, Marty’s Alma mater.
- Marking, for good measure, a little list of things that need attention, sooner or later. Wisdom, I trust, is taking such a move a day, a task, a hello, a pause, a reflection, a gratitude, a tear, a text, a note, a phone call, a visit, a smile, a prayer at a time.
In a hospital newsletter I came across a quote by the ancient writer, Rumi. “Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” I had to find out more about this person with one name.
I found out Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic, born in Balkh, Afganistan in 1207; died in Konya, Turkey in 1273.
Other of Rumi’s quotes: “Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.” Also: “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.” Ancient sages spoke lasting words.
I found the quote from Rumi in the newsletter, Take Charge of your wellness, from the Mishawaka-based Saint Joseph Health System, a service provider where I once worked as a staff writer for its Foundation.
In our visit to the Goshen Public Library I picked up a book, The Book without Words, written by a prolific writer, who like Rumi, goes by one name, Avi. Avi writes for children and youth. The Book without Words. the story goes, is a volume of blank parchment pages whose message, it is said, only a green-eyed reader, with great desire, can decipher. It’s a medieval fable of alchemy that seeks to make gold and achieve immortality. I was a kid again in reading the book–in large print.
I’ve started reading The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, by Victor Hugo. The volume was published in the United States in 1947 by Dodd, Mead & Company. It’s an immersive tome, set in the Middle Ages, the story taking place in the year 1840 in Paris.
In character Claude Frollo’s study in Notre-Dame he is surrounded by, the caption reads, “a confusion of alembics, globes, manuscripts, and scientific materials. This Dutch artist has portrayed with careful detail the furnace and other parts of an alchemist’s equipment.”
“The Cathedral of Notre-Dame dominates the whole of Hugo’s story. Pictured above is an early drawing of the interior of the ancient church. Here in the gloom under the great stone arches people have knelt for centuries.”
Another book that I’m wrapped in is The Librarian of Auschwitz, by Antonio Iturbe. (Ebury Press, 2019, first published in Spanish in 2012, translated by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites in 2017). The novel is based on the true story of Dita Kraus, a 14-year-old imprisoned with many others by the Nazis at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Dita maintained a small collection of books for children and teachers at the camp, the books a source of thought, freedom and hope when all else was stripped from them. Kraus was interviewed on the news program, BBC Breakfast, in early May. A gripping story, highly recommended.
Scenes from the week
Time for a coffee and a walk. Cheers!