Friday, December 19, 2014

"I love that guy..."




The real story comes from a love-source that cannot be understood with the intellect... Mark Nepo

My grand daughter paused in the hallway on her way out the door.  We had just put up some Christmas decorations. There, newly unwrapped for this year, was the foot-high Santa standing on the hall chest. She fingered his beard, his red velvet coat and then took her time feeling all the little presents sticking out his pockets. Gazing for as long as a four year old gazes, she finally looks sideways at me and states, almost solemnly, "I love that guy." And from her look I knew she meant it down to her little toes. Her face reveling she has entered that place of wonder and love.

Earlier, she and her brother unwrapped the manger scene for the mantle. They know they have to be very, very careful as Jesus slipped from smaller fingers last year. We would have lost him if he hadn't bounced on the floor. They reverently, as reverently as enthusiastic four and six years olds can be, handle each figure -- the cow, one eared donkey, three kings, shepherds, and the baby Jesus. This year a thumb is off one of the kings and the shepherd has lost a fore-finger. Yet somehow none of this matters.

However, a problem presents itself. The cow might be my grandson's favorite, yet it's Jesus's head, not the cow's they both want the light to shimmer over.  Unfortunately, it keeps falling in the hay. "Grandma, we need a prop." he states. A little candy box lies empty on the coffee table. Presto, he is down off the stool. Now the "star" shines securely over Jesus's head (see low). Even the Smarties box does not feel irreverent -- any more than a Christ Child does born on hay with munching cows.

Thinking I might add a little depth of meaning to the events, my grandson quickly assures me, "I know." Hmm, maybe better than I as they both have the feeling, the whispered hush, the sparkling Christmas lights shining out their eyes and finger tips. Does it matter whether it is Jesus, a Christ Child, Buddha, or whoever my grand daughter is loving in the red suit? I don't think so. What matters is they feel this story is in some magical way, theirs.

They both know the one inch presents in Santa's pockets in the hallway are empty and the seemingly inanimate manger scene is far from perfect. Jesus's birthday is three weeks away, so this exuberance is not about something under the tree. Watching them I think, where are my feelings? Where is my excitement, my joy de vive, where can I hardly contain myself with true aliveness? I know I don't love the guy in the red suit. I am too logical. Plus, my feelings get lazy and some get "killed off" by thought: "Oh, Christmas is just for children." or "Yes, Augusta (Virginia) there is no Santa Claus."

However, I also know our deepest feelings are the lode star that weds us to each other and the magic of the larger story. When Christmas is born in us, we are re-born in that love-source that can be known only as a person is known.* Now the lights from the tree twinkle as I walk by.  If I squint I see the beautiful prism rays that are us if we could see, energetically. When I let them play on my irises, then glance up at the mantle, there we all are -- wise women and men, birthing new Babes of our own, new insights, new behaviors as we follow our Star. And the air is alive with the kindnesses and goodness that shower us every day. 


We radiate a heart-hum. It doesn't matter if the grands have to do "time-out" for eating the candy they were told not too. Nor doesn't it matter how many mistakes I make, how many friends I have lost this year. In great sadness is great love, in our anger is our wounded-ness and our healing. The story is always larger than we think, always larger than our emotions, always larger than the hay in the manger or the empty Smarties box that is upholding the light.



* Mark Nepo
photo source: fotolia.com

Friday, December 5, 2014

the sun flower...











the sun flower...

The end of the garden
belonged to the sunflowers,
sedulously drawing
the sun’s power inward,
and rising above him/her
who bound them to poles...

The end of the summer
belonged to sunflowers,
languidly casting
downward their haloed heads -
the Crucifixion of a season
offering... the feast...
          Sally Belenardo, From “Jacob’s Garden”

Leaving the restaurant, holding her wing-like arm, I just want to get my ninety-one year old mother to the car without her falling. Yet stepping gingerly off the last step, she stops with surprising strength, jerking me to a halt. I look down at her. She was inch shorter, now she is a foot shorter. Her gnarled spine cast her face to the ground. In her younger years she encouraged me to “put your shoulders back and stand up straight”-- as she carried herself.

About to urge her toward the car, thankfully, I begin to recognize she is meeting with an old friend too seldom seen. How beautiful to watch her raise blind eyes to the September sun.  Like an enchanted sunflower, she stands “sedulously drawing the sun’s power inward.” Long, deep breaths. I hear the raspy inhale. Then another and another.

People keep passing us on each side. She, who would be quick to step aside, ignores them. Her back pain should have propelled her toward the car several minutes ago. Yet, she is basking. The sun is lovely for her.  The “end of the summer” does truly belong to the sunflowers, “languidly casting...their haloed heads."  I cannot say,  “Let’s go Mother.” when she knows how to embrace the sun like this. And I wonder, who is embracing whom.

*written a year before my mother made her transition, her birthday would have been several days ago
Image source:  Artur Synenko - Fotolia.com