In the Rockies

In the Rockies
Butler Gulch

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Beauty Fading --and Reclaimed

I look at fall beauty, and remember Mother's depression setting in before the colors faded. Everything is dying--so sad--she would say. The golden leaves pictured here were likely stepped on and crumbled a few hours or minutes after I photographed them. But they easily stand in for my life-long fear, a result of childhood terror. Avoid being smashed, wiped out. I pushed away, tried to be the best, think faster than the next person--all ways to feel some control, to avoid being crushed into oblivion.

As I look at leaves falling and flowers wilting, I realize that most will return to life again in the spring. My question becomes "Is there spring again for those of us who are in our senior years?"

I recently attended a memorial service where the deceased man's daughter spoke of the love her Pops had found in his last years, acknowledging that he and her step-mother had shown her how to have a wonderful loving relationship. It made me wonder in a way I hadn't in years.
In my search for Divine love, for healing so Divine love could flow through me to others, had I unconsciously shut the door to human love?

The answer, as far as having a partner, was easily "yes." It wasn't that I was so happy being single that I didn't want a man in my life--although I could say that I was often glad not to need to consult another before planning my activities. I didn't expect or even hope to come across a man with whom to share my fleeting years. I had given up.

So last night I did something that is a bit embarrassing to admit. I listened to a seminar on finding "the One." Yes, it does sound silly. But Claire and Kathryn are dynamic women in their 40s who have put together an empowering women series that I have found inspiring. And their stories of looking for the men they have now found had some resonance with me.

They took their listeners--and me--back to what they called unfinished relationships. They suggested that we feel in our bodies the emotions that kept us from opening ourselves to love. And they suggested that we go back as far as we could in our childhood to find the source of those negative emotions. For me, that was back to Daddy--not the one I adored, but to the one who asked of me things that should never be demanded of a child.

The message I took from my childhood was that gaining love was hard, that I had to give and give and give to get love. Claire called it bankrupting ourselves for another--with the result, often, that the partner for whom we gave up ourselves looked and didn't see anything he (or she) wanted. Kathryn talked about wanting a man so badly that we might give up ourselves for men we really didn't want in our lives (were we able to step outside ourselves and watch). I had done both of these things.

It was back to the ages-old advice--we have to change the messages. They went farther, into creating and becoming a magnet for the man with whom we wanted to share our lives--and they have a course for it--naturally. I'm not going to take the course.

I realized that the "it's hard and I have to work and work for it" is a message I have taken into my journey of healing and connecting with God's love. I have to be strong. That's a childhood message I have carried with me. A minister I'm helping take care of an old parishioner told me recently that I shouldn't have to worry about using too many of my cell phone minutes on this man's care. He'd take care of my phone bill. I was touched and surprised. I wonder what things I'm worrying about that I need to leave to the Spirit's care. I know Divine love is with me, available anytime. It's free for the taking. How about human love? Where am I shutting love out--Divine and Human?

My prayer for today-"Help me to be wiling and open to love--Yours and those of other fellow travellers on the journey. Amen."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brightening My Day

When rain patters on the windows, the skies are gray, and writing doesn't flow as I think it should, the call from my daughter to pick up six-year-old Sam from school and play with him for a couple of hours is a welcome call.

At the school yard, Sam, all but his face hidden in his red rain gear, pretended not to see me trotting into the school yard near his room. I had a moment of panic before I realized that the red-hooded child ignoring me was Sam. He'd found a crawdad in the water at the edge of the school yard. Another boy had plucked it from the water. That was the highlight he wanted to share.

Once home, his newly acquired public library card got the spotlight. (I'd been taking him and using my card to get his books since only a parent or guardian can get a library card for a child.)
He had chosen four books, and asked me which two I would like to read to him. Naturally, the two I chose were not the two he preferred. We compromised. I read one of his choices, one of mine.

He wanted the new gold draperies in the dining area closed and the lighting that made the room turn to gold turned on. Sam ate his after-school snack bathed in the glow of the room. He said he liked the drapes best when they were pulled. In his admiration of beauty, he's his Mother's child.

The next excitement was preparing for his Moay Thai martial arts class. Sam loves the kicks he is learning in that class, and wanted me to stay and watch for the entire time. It's a kick boxing exercise, and I'm not crazy about it, but for now, Sam is. He got his red stripe signifying that he'd attended ten classes. He was very proud.

Sam was a lesson in the joys of small things--the sighting of a crawdad, his very own library card, his red stripe. I also got a thumbs up for warming his macaroni to his preferred temperature! Perfect, he said. I remembered to be grateful for my chicken, new potatoes and braised chard with dried cranberries for last night's dinner.

I'm grateful for the joys that Sam brings to my life. As I saw the telecast of children welcoming their dads up from the mines in Chile, I knew something of the joys those children would bring to the dads who had been underground for so long.