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Friday, July 14, 2017

Final Day at The Royal Commission

Whether we're rich or poor, male or female, a nineteenth-century Swiss jeweller like Isaac Golay in his oversized frock coat, or a twentieth-century American clergyman like me with a penchant for writing books, or a young squirt celebrating his twenty-first birthday in the twenty-first century like you, our stories are all stories of searching. We search for a good self to be and for good work to do. We search to become human in a world that tempts us always to be less than human or looks to us to be more. We search to love and to be loved. And in a world where it is often hard to believe in much of anything, we search to believe in something holy and beautiful and life-transcending that will give meaning and purpose to the lives we live.

Buechner – The Longing for Home.

After three years, today is my final day at the Royal Commission.

On days like today – days of leaving, days of finishing one chapter and turning to the next – it seems to me that the layers that we fastidiously build up around our souls to protect them from the rough and tumble of life temporarily thin out. For a moment, life is allowed to brush up against us – undiluted, unrestrained – like water over newly unmossed rocks.

On days like today, it seems I can feel the moment – the tip tap of my fingers on the keyboard, the distant murmur of colleagues in another room talking about god knows what, as well as the strange silence that offices with so many people in them capable of making noise, or making themselves known to each other, often have. On days like to day, I am aware that this brief moment is one of many other moments I have had, and will continue to have until finally my time is snuffed out, like a match.

But most of all, on days like today, I am conscious that each of these moments, each one, is a precious gift. And when I think of that, there’s suddenly somehow not enough beauty, not enough art, not enough music, not enough tears, to express how grateful I am.     

I have searched for a long time, it seems. And I’ll continue to search of course. But it does seem to me, that to one degree or another, I have found many of the things that Buechner refers to above during my time here at the Royal Commission. A self to be. Work to do. A self to love and be loved by. And some sense that in a world where it is often hard to believe in much of anything, there is goodness and value and meaning in trying nonetheless. And that is to be cherished.