A few days before the Christmas of 1994 my family packed up our belongings and began our journey south to Alabama where my dad had been called to be the rector of an Episcopal Church. Ten miles out of town the odometer broke in our recently serviced van beginning a comedy of errors that saw the cat getting lost under a hotel bed in Connecticut; crossing the Seventeen-Mile Bridge in the wind, the rain, and the dark; Christmas in Raleigh with Granddad; and the van dying on I-85 in Greenville, SC where a nice man let us use the cell phone he’d received for Christmas the day before. A tow truck, the retrieval of our other car from Raleigh and an extra night on the road later, we pulled into the parking lot of Regions Bank on December 27th. There we opened new accounts and signed mortgage papers. We stayed the night at the home of a parishioner and moved into our new house the following day.*
We were pros at this, having moved at least seven times in my 14 years. Most had been utilitarian: better jobs, my father’s call to the ministry followed by a time in seminary and a period of internship. But of all our moves this was the strangest and not just because of the events that transpired during the actual relocation. The short version is that things just hadn’t worked out as expected and so it was that we, consummate Yankees, found ourselves driving down I-95 to begin our adventure in the Heart of Dixie. Moving to Alabama felt like an exile from the sweetness of New England but the excitement of a new beginning was palpable.
Everything was changing: Yankee Thrift to Southern Hospitality, Old Colonial home to new construction, 100 year old-stick-in-the-mud parish to one formed in the ‘70s out of a desire to assist the civil rights movement, and a transfer from an all-girls Catholic High School to a public one. With boys.
The one constant in all of this was our family. Things could always have gone another way but it was a combination of my parents love for us and each other and our collective need for something to stay the same that kept the four of us close. Houses, furniture, and people had shifted so often they sometimes felt like props and extras in a movie. But we always had each other. That, and the jar of roots given to us when we left Maine in the mid ‘80s. (And that still sits atop the refrigerator to this day.)
Now, sixteen years later, another move is underway. Things did not work out as expected. The yoga studio that I and so many others have called home for the last several years is closing its doors. The sadness is real, the possibilities vast. Our community of yogis is heartbroken. We are mourning the loss of a room of our own and fearing the loss of each other.
Yet we are not defined by lavender walls and bamboo flooring: we are a community knit together by the shared experience of the practice rooted in the power of Grace. Our collective love for one another will keep us close. Many of our classes will be held at another local studio and so we will still have a physical space to meet.** Together we accept the end of one cycle and embrace the beginning of a new one — one with unlimited potential to grow and welcome new friends.
In two weeks time we will gather to move furniture and props out of the studio. Maybe we’ll find a lost cat hiding behind the shelving. Hopefully no one’s car will break down and there will be no need to cross a long bridge in the wind and the rain and the dark. When everything is out we will say our goodbyes to the lavender walls and the bamboo floors, we will close the doors and we will leave, knowing that as we carry our roots with us, we carry our Love.