Leaving the Crystal Shop
Thinking about the end of residency takes me to this spot in The Alchemist, where The Boy quietly slips out of the crystal shop.
"The boy went to his room and packed his belongings. They filled three sacks. As he was leaving, he saw, in the corner of the room, his old shepherd's pouch. ... I know why I want to get back to my flock, he thought. I understand sheep; they're no longer a problem, and they can be good friends. On the other hand, I don't know if the desert can be a friend, and it's in the desert that I have to search for my treasure...why not?"
In the arc of his personal legend, this is the end of preparing for the journey. He doesn’t become a crystal merchant, but it was an important place of apprenticeship - a time to learn, about himself and the world, while still sheltered. What he gains there far transcends the specific everyday skills of the trade, and he takes all the experiences with him on the trip ahead.
Every lesson is relevant, because everything in the universe is one thing.
Residency trained me to take care of children’s basic physical health, a set of skills I hope to always keep practicing. In that sense, the training never ends. But this period of apprenticeship also revealed other callings that I am ready to go toward.
I wonder if The Boy’s first steps outside the shop were somewhat bewildering - no routine to fall back on, no structure to design the day, no concrete and tangible plan that is a comforting repetition of yesterday. What we know for sure, however, is he walked on without looking back, and the path led him to everything that followed.