Friday, May 21, 2010

Seeing Goodness

When I was in my twenties and looking for the perfect man, my Aunt Cherry advised me: “one person can’t fulfil all your needs.” She told me that she and my uncle had a circle of friends they enjoyed golf and cards with, but she also had friends with whom she alone enjoyed the art world. I found those comforting words then, and recently they’ve taken on a whole new meaning.

I became close with my aunt because I had a hard time communicating with my mother. It didn’t matter what I did, it seemed to me she would always find something wrong with it. I’d long since let go of those feelings and moved on, I’d thought, until recently. I was frustrated about a certain aspect of my life and returned to those old sentiments: it’s mom’s fault. And then I was shocked to realized, hey, I have a pretty wonderful life: a life of love and beauty...and this too must be mom’s fault.

Yes, if I wanted to, I could go back through my life and point out where my mom wasn’t what I thought I needed her to be, but what a childish waste of time that would be. For a young mother with four children and a husband with health problems, she did a heroic job of keeping us together. When she wasn’t available, others sure were: teachers, family friends, Aunt Cherry (whom she’d recruited), as well as the books she’d given me. If I’d only recognized I had not just one mother but many who were available to nurture me, if I had only focused on what she gave me instead of what I thought was missing, I would have been able to relax.

Today, as I stop looking at the world in black and white and instead see a rainbow of possibilities, I see how I have always had the guidance I’ve needed. Even when I’ve felt alone in the world, a chance encounter – a found photograph, a song on the radio, or a magazine article - could turn me around to a path of goodness. I am not alone and I never have been. There are so many angels waiting to fulfil what my tender heart needs, I just have to learn to recognize them and let them in.

One phrase that has always intrigued me is from the book The Little Prince: “What is essential is invisible to the eye. It is with the heart that one sees rightly.” How does the heart see? How does the heart know? Curious, I began to pay attention to my own heart. As I eased into relaxation, the thump, thump, thump......became tha-thump, tha-thump, tha-thump. I am not alone; there is always something, however faint at first, guiding me. Silly little child, quiet yourself and listen: tha-thump, tha-thump, tha-thump. You see? Now follow the lead; follow the goodness and everything will transform around you.

And so it has, for now I can feel my mother’s tenderness; I can feel my father’s approval; I can feel my siblings’ support; and I am so light, I could fly.

Will this feeling last forever? It’s possible. But usually it takes a while for new patterns to be established. Soon, though, I know I will be led into temptation, and it will be wonderful because I will enjoy being reminded of how I have blossomed, how I have chosen the direction of my life, and how I have come to see the invisible.

How fitting that I have just begun the crone phase of my life. Can you imagine: a child’s sense of wonder mixed with an adult’s sense of control? This will be the rainbow time of my life.

Thanks mom! You were exactly who I needed you to be.

Thank you, mother, I can finally see what you’ve done for me, and I love you forever.