I have a beloved friend who, as of late, has been contemplating her mortality. I have been careful not to interfere with her process but rather, witness and try to understand what lies beneath her contemplations, her inquiries, and the tenderness of it all. My hope is to be a source of love as she touches upon questions which are uncomfortable and territory which is unfamiliar.
As I go about my life, I aim to listen carefully. And what I notice often are stories of struggle of relationships in families. Themes of frustration. Blame. Misunderstandings that oftentimes hit epic proportions. Battles of will and willfulness. Stubbornness. Ego. Fiery hot tempers. Repeated patterns of hurt and pain.
And then I see the Hallmark commercials, the Facebook posts, the families which do speak to one another at the restaurant table next to you. And I am deeply struck.
I want to say to many people,
“You don’t know what you have right in front of you.”
“You will miss them when they are gone.”
“You are lucky.”
As I see the eye rolls, hear the yelling, watch the arguments, I think and practically know how real it is in this feeling that many don’t know how much they will miss the very things that drive them absolutely crazy now. The way it takes her 10 minutes to say goodbye. The way she always argues with the taxi driver because she knows a better way to get there. The amount of food that ends up on her clothing. The number of times she hangs up on you accidentally because she still doesn’t understand the phone. The way she laughs. The way she signs off.
I came from a family whom I love deeply. Yet, I am someone who journeys through the world solo.
To stand in my sovereignty is the configuration I have learned to cultivate over time. There was a period of time when a holiday would immediately cause me to feel separate and “othered.” But this is not how I feel today.
Today I feel grateful.
I wanted something profoundly different for an extraordinarily long time. Passover ended not too long ago, and quite honestly, my life had begun to feel like I was on my own 40 year walk through the desert.
But I wasn’t. There is no question that it was a long and silent walk. But where I find myself today is that through that mystery, I was lucky. I was lucky to have all that I had for the time that I had it. And that is what I know.
My heart has continued to grow and change, and open and its capacity to love has only expanded.
We never know what is around the corner. Love. Contention. Growth. Forgiveness. Change.
No matter what it is, stepping into it, is almost always an act of courage and deep deep practice.
Everything changes. And becoming takes time.
We may think we don’t want life in the package it shows up in because our ideas about our life have told us that we want or need things to be otherwise. But when we embrace the heart of what sits in us as struggle and stop fighting against it, that long walk in the desert becomes an exodus.
Today I stand in my sovereignty. I sit in peace. I hold my heart open in love, compassion and forgiveness. And I pray that those who I have had the opportunity to love are living very blessed lives.
A blessed Mother’s Day to All.
May 8, 2016