Thank you, dear readers, for this space to pass on two blog posts I’ve read this week about how we can be part of transforming this country, and the world, into an inhabitable place of love rather than a fearful place of hate.
And I would be remiss not to also say VOTE! It’s our privilege and our responsibility.
From my writing teacher, mentor, and friend, Christina Baldwin: How Apology Works.
Apology requires that we have the emotional maturity to say, ‘I’m sorry,’ even when we are not 100% sure we are 100% to blame. Training in this maturity begins in kindergarten as children are coached through ambiguous social interactions…
“…Again and again we race past opportunities that could help us heal and choose instead to cause more harm. To compound tragedy, it seems quite clear that Justice Kavanaugh has no idea he missed his chance to cross the divide of privilege and pain in this country; that he could have called Senators to their integrity, rallied bipartisan support for his entry onto the Supreme Court, and most importantly, stood as a surrogate in the shattered places in a million women’s hearts by saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ And we, the battered citizens of America, would have been shown a model for opening dialogue toward relationships of amends. He might even have shown the president how to behave.
Read the post here to see the words Justice Kavenaugh might have said that could have had transformative powers rather than those he did say that widened the chasm.
Justice Kavenaugh missed a huge and public opportunity. But how many opportunities do we each miss every day? From another author whose blog I read, Heather Lende (author of “Find the Good,”): The Light of Trees and Grandmas.
He was really nice to her, and spoke gently and slowly, and took the time to point her in the right direction, even though there was a line and he was in the middle of ringing me up (and I was late for a meeting.) She was so appreciative she smiled with a beautiful bright light and thanked him earnestly and walked toward the produce section…
“…Did you know that elders played a significant evolutionary role in safe communities? You know how after fifty-five or so we don’t sleep as well as we used to? Turns out that was good for the clan, or the tribe, or the village. Grandmas like me shouted the alarm when there was danger in the night. And don’t you think that now is a good time to be extra awake and pay attention, and call out to the lights all around us when we see and hear them in the darkness– the kind gestures, the well chosen words, the pleases and thank yous, and how can I help yous that shine us on the path to peace and justice and how we want to live with others in this world we share? Isn’t it the least we can do?
Read the post here to see how a grocery store clerk seized an opportunity to be the light. And how the author passed the light back to him.
And as Heather Lende reminds us, there is always Mary Oliver:
“Go easy, be filled with light, shine.”
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
All Souls' Day, At Blackwater Pond, childhood memories, Daughter Off Duty, Daughter on Duty, grief, living in my childhood home, Mary Oliver, memories of my mother, mothers and daughters, nostalgia, remembering mother, when a parent dies
She’s been gone six months and eleven days. It seems like forever. It feels like she was never here, that I was never buried in caregiving, that she was never driving me to the brink. That I didn’t lie in my bed at night crying, promising myself that this was not my forever and not believing it.
But I’m revising my memoir again, attempting to reduce it by 40,000 words before I pay an editor to read the rest of them, and I remember. She was here. She was driving me to the brink. And I miss her.
Yesterday I finally cleaned out the rest of her dresser drawers in preparation for giving away the bedroom furniture she and my father got when I was in junior high or maybe before that. That’s when I got the dresser they bought used when they started living married, three years after the wedding when my father returned from the war; but maybe it had been stashed in the basement until I got my own bedroom. I still have that dresser and I want to use it again.
My mother was quite the collector of jewelry, very little of which I remember her wearing. Some pieces still have the price tag attached. Some that people, including me, made for her. Some of it may be her mother’s. Sometime, while she could still see and write, perhaps with the help of her favorite paid companion, she went through it all and wrote notes on many pieces, so my sisters and I would know its origins. She never got rid of any of it.
Along with dozens of scarves and piles of my father’s plain white handkerchiefs, it fills the four dresser drawers I crammed it in when I cleaned out the other seven drawers for my own use. I touch each piece, most still in original boxes, as I put them in bigger boxes.
This is what I miss: her being young and acquiring this jewelry. When she went to church and concerts and her favorite restaurants and traveled with my father. When she wore necklaces around her neck rather than her dark glasses to cover her regular glasses outside; instead of her hearing aid remote; rather than the pendant to call for an aide to help her in the bathroom.
This is what bring tears: when my father bought jewelry for his love and sent it across the ocean to her, longing to be there himself.
This is the mother I miss: the one who every year at Christmas wore the clip-on holly leaf earrings I made in fourth grade art until she lost one, or it broke. Insisting she loved them, until I finally understood one year that it was me she loved.
I put the two stuffed boxes in the basement, then go back and get out her multi-strand pearl necklace. I don’t know if the pearls are even real, and I can’t picture myself wearing them. I just need her close by.
“…To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.” —Mary Oliver