INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CARE AND FEEDING OF THIS BLOG POST:
Press play on the youtube of Sarah McLaughlan and her beautiful song.
Read while listening.
Go hold someone you love and use every one of your senses to fill with awareness.
Can anyone do this? Can a person without the natural temperment of ease, forgiveness, grace, soft souled- can a person like this who has been hurt deeply and at the most tender age, can that person just be happy?
I can't ' just be happy '; I have never had the ease of spirit and innocent kind of joy and love that I see and celebrate in some others. My happiness is always a matured, rough hewn sort. I can be happy though. Yes. I can look around me every day and work my mind open, my heart, to see and appreciate the beauty that is everywhere. On a walk with my daughter Lola, a beautiful dragonfly humming and jerking, caught in a spider's web, brings me to tears. I recognize in this the condundrum of life, that what is beautiful can also come packaged in great pain.
When I was a little girl I had an imaginary horse, based off the horse in one of my favorite children's books and series, The Black Stallion. My imaginary horse and I had a spiritual bond, and as I rode in the car with my sad family, I turned my eyes out the window and watched myself, riding my own black stallion, thundering over the hills and sides of freeways, flying over obstacles in great leaps. I was finding my own happiness. I was making something beautiful with what I knew.
The way that I knew freedom was through books and beauty. So now, as an adult, I watch others who radiate a kind of clean happiness, a kind of lucky happiness where nothing tragic occured into their childhood. I believe that when our childhoods are solid and safe and based on love, we survive our adult losses differently. I watch beautiful people whose spirits are so easily soaring and I envy them. I have never felt light without a fight. Finding happiness, spiritual freedom, freedom from fear, these goals are often made closer by the devotion of Seeing, Hearing, Feeling, Touching, Loving. If I am talking with my son and suddenly pull myself into the moment, the air is brighter. I see his bright blue eyes with an intensity that startles. I hear his voice and I am filled with a deep, eternal love so intense it takes my breath. I watch how his long thin arms move, his mouth turns up at the corners, his sensitive fingers play with the jacket. I am eclipsed.
Maybe some of us, who are thornier than we'd like, more complicated than is necessary for depth, more neurotic than is romantic, we turn away from living in the moment because the insensity of truly seeing how beautiful love is terrifies us.
Perhaps we fear what we think we desire. Perhaps we fear love. Because in opening our arms, bodies, minds and hearts to love, we open ourselves to pain, to loss- and let us not shy from the truth: we open ourselves to a kind of loss that is simply unimaginable, unfathomable. If I lose my children before.... there is a blackness that erupts in the fabric of the Universe, directly parallel to the pain, when a person endures a loss too great to be borne.
What clears the pathway, what enlivens the weak hearted and brittle boned to become eclipsed, to love as we are meant to love? What if we do not believe in God? What if we cannot feel a God behind us, giving meaning and reason to all we do not understand?
Well then, we can ask ourselves the eternal question: Is it better to have loved and lost, than never loved at all? What does this really mean to you? If we walk through our days with those we love and never really connect, what will we feel when the losses do, inevitably occur? Will we hurt Less because we protected our hearts?
We will hurt more because we will be filled with regret.
When my grandmother Elizabeth died I was aware of an emtpy room inside of me where her prescence used to be. And not being of great Faith, I could not fill it with those thoughts or beliefs. The ballast was the knowledge that I had loved her openly and cherishingly to the best of my ability. Not perfectly. But I had touched her, held her hands, clipped her toenails, massaged her feet, pressed my mouth to her velvet hanging skin, whispered I love you in her ear, cried tears of gratitude telling her the stories I remembered most fondly of her and I, let her see, hear and know that I loved her.
Our choice, the choice of the living, is nothing easy. It is nothing simplistic and only the surface skimmers mock this struggle. I choose every day. I choose in my children's skin, in their warm mouths sucking at my breast, their downy baby heads pressed against my husbands naked body as they slept in our bed, their pink fingers running over my arms as I held them, their voices screaming and laughing, breaking the great silence of Order, Plans, Structure, their lithe and beautiful bodies tumbling together in play, the smell of their hair, their ears, their necks, the pulse of their heartbeat and great vunerability there for all to see in their infancy: on the top of their heads, that great soft spot, that place given to remind us of the incredibly preciousness of life.
I forage ahead inside this enveloping, amazing, love although there are times when I cannot sleep and a great and voiceless fear courses through my veins, for all I am humbled to admit I cannot change, for the swirling great world around and inside my children that I cannot protect them from: even though I was not protected, even though I cannot breathe when I think of the unthinkable.
I choose to love.