I’m thinking about…

child in fountain

I’m thinking about what we cover up.

I’m thinking about the pain we live above.

I’m thinking about the nice face we show the world that hides the scars and wounding and devastated places underneath. 

I’m thinking about what a difficult place the world can be for the children who get hurt and don’t know how to handle the pain or know where to look for support.

I’m thinking about how those same children don’t change inside, they just have grown-up bodies and responsibilities.

I’m thinking about the people who grow up and think that money or a new thing can heal their empty place.

I’m thinking about suffering that has no definition or language. 

I’m thinking about the ways we hurt each other and how we never could if we saw what birthed each action.

I’m thinking that the world would be different if we could pull back the veil and see the little scared person who sits at the controls, like Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz.

I’m thinking about the millions of people who sit alone in their houses every night, who want to connect,  become more or find love, but have no idea how to do it and are too afraid or defeated to try. 

I’m thinking that it’s our job to grow a rose out of all the shit that gets piled on top of us every day, and to fertilize it with our willpower.

I’m thinking we must insist our rose grow just to spite the dark side.

I’m thinking that it’s our job to pull ourselves up from the muck and scream at the universe.

Not today, you can’t take me down today.

Miracles Happen

 Her hand is extended in friendship. The gesture is genuine and wanting. I place my hand in hers, taking it ~ touched by the gesture and the sisterhood implied. But another part of me is cautious, not because of her. I am cautious because of the courage a real friendship requires. I am a coward in this area, afraid of what will be asked of me. Not asked, maybe but demanded. I must be honest, dead honest to be close. I am so easily hurt and the sting is lasting. It feels so hard to say, “When you did that, I felt this. It felt ungenerous. Did you mean to hurt me?” I have chosen instead to be distant all these years.

My oldest sister did mean to hurt me. She schemed and planned. It was her occupation and she was masterful. How can we leave Karen out, she wondered. How can I get rid of her? She formed groups of exclusion. Oh Karen, we were just talking about what we were all going to do, and we all decided that we did not want you to be part of it. We think you wouldn’t be of much use.

What was it in her that needed to destroy me and why? This older child who hated me was my care-giver and only available parent. We’re old women now, but the relationship remains, except I no longer engage in opening or extending. She still waits coiled and ready to strike. I ask in gestures and words. Can we stop this yet? Can we give this up? The answer is, No. Her position is set.

 What I had not fully realized is how this relationship has colored my ability to reach towards others. How quietly and subtly I have folded my hand behind my back or deep inside my pockets, when the thing my heart needed most was to extend forward, placing the warmth of another’s willingness inside the courage of my own. Honesty is required. I must speak and not be silent to create what I desire. I must risk that my words will fall on gentle soil.

Why does love require such courage?

Love should wash over us naturally and with ease the way the sun rises each morning or the way water laps gently and consistently against the shore.

Maybe love is that way after all, once our fears are put to rest and our wounds healed. Maybe in the end, it’s all that easy; but for me, I’m thinking probably not. For me, I will need courage, honesty and willingness. Maybe I can do that more easily now. Maybe miracles do happen.

written 7-27-08

In the fire


I woke this morning with a start, a kind of fearful cold water thrown on an unsettled heart. I’m 60 years old now. I probably have twenty useful years before me. This is fact, reality, sterile and unbiased. What can a person do with twenty more years of life? I can watch my granddaughters become women and my children enter their fifties.  How long will it be before I lie in my bed like the mother I just visited, no bigger than a pipe cleaner, unable to stop my jaw from shaking, unable to make a fist with arthritic fingers, unable to keep the expression of pain and hopelessness from my face? How will it be to watch my friends die? To use all my energy to get out of bed in the morning trapped in a body that no longer serves me? Will my now distant children care enough to show up, or will I sit in my independence looking out at life unable to participate? And what of love and home? Will that be created in the next twenty years, or will I still be flying by the seat of my pants, the spiritual bird that can’t touch down?

I am in a time of fire. Everything is being burned away. They say, whoever they are, that a fire in the forest cleans the underbrush making space for new life. Don’t give up until they throw dirt on your face. Today I feel old, worn, dirty and tired.

I have moments in the day when I stop to weep from a deep and frightened place inside myself. Crying is something that has to happen now. I no longer question it. I just try to be gentle because I know I’m in the fire. I know the fire burns. I try not to thrash around and stir the flames. I put on a good face, breathe deep and wake with a cold and lonely fear in my heart.

written 5-25-05