Trying to stay focused on the present

Red Mug Cafe, Mt. Hope OH
At the Red Mug.

By Bruce Stambaugh

I sat in my favorite café sipping a delicious cup of coffee. I often met my older brother there or enjoyed a yummy breakfast with my wife. Today I was alone, musing upon what had recently transpired, and what was yet to come.

As customers came and went, my mind raced over the events of the last days and of the days ahead. I had no regrets and no dissatisfaction. I was at peace with the world.

My friend Susan helped me arrive at that conclusion. She had just stepped to the counter to order and didn’t notice me until she was about to leave.

We exchanged fond greetings, and when Susan asked how the moving preparations were progressing, I told her of two emotional partings I had recently experienced.

Only an hour earlier I had bid farewell to one of my most precious possessions. I sold my beloved 1970 Chevrolet Malibu Sport Coupe, the car I had helped a dear friend purchase brand new at a dealership in Millersburg, Ohio.

I loved that car, and so did its original owner, the late Helen Youngs. She took good care of it, too. I tried to do the same once she sold it to me in the summer of 1988.

Now, after all of those years, someone else owned the car. A man from out of the area bought it for his wife. He told me he liked the car’s story as much as the car itself. He purchased the Chevy for his wife without ever having driven it. She had owned the exact model as a young woman.

I witnessed her joyous reaction when I drove my Chevy into her garage. I knew then and there Helen’s car was in good hands and that I could lovingly let go. I wish you could have seen her.

I needed to sell my automotive treasure. No one in the family wanted it, and I had no place to store it in Virginia. Plus, I didn’t drive it enough to justify keeping it.

Celebrating a birthday.
Just as it was time to sell the Chevy, it’s also time to move on in our lives. We want to experience all we can with our busy grandkids. Concerts, ball games, shuttling them to appointments are all part of our Virginia agenda.

Only the day before we came to grips with the emotion of moving. Our daughter and her family had returned for one last visit before we joined them in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

handkerchief quilt
Our granddaughter helped hold the handkerchief quilt my wife made.
All went well until it was time to leave. Before our daughter jumped into the family van, she broke down and so did we. Tears freely flowed. Tears have incredible power. As they trickle down from eyes to cheeks and are wiped away, tears cleanse us, help us to heal, force us to accept the situation just as it is.

Our love affair with our home, our community, our good friends was coming to an end.

As I watched the van drive away, I was happy that this last visit for Carrie’s family had been a memorable one. I hoped and prayed it had brought them a semblance of closure.

As my friend Susan had reminded me, we are much better to live in the present. No sense longing for the way things were or fearing what may be ahead in life.

I am most happy for the past. I joyfully anticipate whatever the future holds for us. We need to embrace the present with gusto, delight, and jubilation. I have my friend Susan to thank for that reminder.

Family home, Holmes Co. OH
Home for 38 years.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2017

Author: Bruce Stambaugh

Writer, marketer, columnist, author, photographer, birder, walker, hiker, husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, township trustee, converted Anabaptist, community activist, my life is crammed with all things people and nature and wonder. My late father gave me this penchant for giving and getting the most out of life, my late mother the courtesy, kindness, and creativity to see the joy in life. They both taught me to cherish the people I am with. I try and fail and try again.

13 thoughts on “Trying to stay focused on the present”

  1. Your post certainly brings to mind our own move ten years ago from one Rockingham County home to another–the one where we brought all of our babies home from the hospital and where they grew to adulthood. My husband and I went back to our old house on Monday morning after a busy weekend of moving, and the empty house spoke volumes. We cried and held each other, and moved on. (I still love to go by the old house, I’m guessing I always will. But I love our new (now ten years old) home. 🙂

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  2. We too have wonderful memories of our visits at your Holmes County home – going quilt fabric shopping with Neva;, Ken being luck enough to get a ride in your beloved Chevy; going out for a photo shoot; going on tour of Holmes County with the best tour leader, visiting the produce market/auction; watching all the wonderful birds you manage to lure to your feeders; visiting the furniture factory; the delicious meals prepared by the “chief cook”, the beautiful rolling country side; our visit at Lakeside; – I could go on and on. You were so close, yet so far. Now you’re even farther away. Tears welled up in my eyes too as I read about Carrie’s emotional last visit. Enjoy your last week in Holmes County. Maybe we’ll see you in Harrisonburg sometime. We now have 3 reasons to visit there – make that 4 – the last so we can have a rousing game of Wizard again! 🙂 🙂
    Big Hugs from your Crazy Canuck friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Saying goodbye to the much loved and familiar is never easy. This stage is undoubtedly the hardest part of any move but you have planned well and there are welcoming arms waiting for you at the other end. Ohio memories will rest amongst your possessions to be retrieved at will. We wish you and Neva well. Safe journey to Virginia.
    Fondly, Gail & Don

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We’re moving into Meaford, a town on Georgian Bay not far away. Our daughter and family (our only two grandchildren) moved to B.C last Sept, but our son is moving back from northern Ontario to Port Elgin (from 5 hours away to about 1 hour). No-one le in Guelph to move for. We’re buying a small house after completely failing to find any suitable condos for sle, but it will be a big change from 2+ acres here to care for.

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  4. We too have just sold our house and will be moving in the fall. It’s harder than I thought to part with things, but as you say, we need to live in the present. We’ve moved fairly frequently I’d say over 45 years, and what comes to mind is that we never look backwards, only forwards, though we too have loved this place and will miss it terribly. In our case it’s health issues that are pushing us into town, where particularly our snowy winters won’t be so isolating. Best of luck with both your move and all the social adjustments of living in a new community.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bruce, I some how missed this enter. Most likely you wont see my comment and that’s ok. Just wanted to say your words moved me deeply. God Bless you both as you begin this new adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

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