Finding serenity amongst the rubble

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September 3, 2012 by talkaboutyork

My lack of blog posts is a direct reflection of what life has been like of late. A heady combination of trying to keep small boys happy over the final few weeks of summer, while moving out of our temporary flat and back into our house. It sounds simple typed liked that.

Except that our house is a building site. Everything is covered in a thick layer of grey dust and our belongings are still snuggly hibernating in the boxes which decorate each room.  It makes it impossible to find anything, so we are living as you might if you were on a two week holiday: the same clothes worn repeatedly, nothing ironed, the most basic beauty regime.

We have a shower that works but not in the same room that we have a functioning toilet or basin. And none of the rooms have curtains resulting in a complete lack of privacy, whether it’s watching DVDs in the evening (not TV as that would require a connected satellite dish),taking a shower or lying in bed.  Showering is akin to a camping experience, where you wash as fast as you can and then try to dry yourself without your feet touching the dirty floor, but you fail and end up with dirty feet and a filthy towel. Not that we can wash the towel because that would mean having a washing machine. We don’t.

I’m trying to adjust to city living. There is a lot that is great. Like having everything right on your doorstep, with a rich choice of restaurants, shops and entertainment. But one thing that is taking quite a lot of adjustment is the lack of space. Whether it’s where to store the tupperware in the kitchen or where the children can play now that we don’t have a garden, everything just feels more hemmed in.

I shall get used to it and I know that the merits will outweigh the limitations, but it’s like taking everything you know and have grown used to and shaking it hard, like hitting an old carpet with a stick and waiting for the dust to fly out and settle.

Yesterday I had a rare moment of time to myself. The children were off bike riding with their dad. I shut the front door behind me and wandered towards town without a set plan, lost with the freedom of it. Seeing Bootham Bar ahead of me, I decided on a whim to walk the City Walls as I’d not done this particular bit of it yet.

It’s the most beautiful bit of the Walls I think, with views out over the peaceful gardens surrounding the Minster and voyeuristic glimpses into the backs of people’s houses.The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the grass was green. I started to feel relaxation swirl through my veins.

On my return I walked past the Minster and noticed that Evensong was about to begin. I’m not a massively religious person, but suddenly the thought of listening to choral singing in this beautiful building just seemed right. So I walked in, bypassing all the tourists and making my way to the very heart of the Minster where the singing had already started.

Listening to the angelic voices, I had my first chance to look up at the Minster and appreciate just how beautiful  it is. Then the priest started his sermon. He spoke about ‘what is happiness’. He said that to be truly happy you needed to take responsibility for your actions, accept what you have and love what life has given you now, not what it could be. How very apt given my current life situation.

I left the church bathed in serenity, ready to face the building works and uncertainty and lack of space and the start of a whole new life.

As I type this, I can hear the Minster bells ringing. I’ve just walked back home having safely delivered the boys at their new school. The sun is still shining and I’m about to meet a friend for coffee. Life is good.

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