This morning’s dream work (and today’s memoir writing seminar :)) came with a challenge: How vulnerable can I allow myself to be? So here goes, with the trust that this will relate to more than a few others as well:
In the dream I was in my “childhood home” (although it wasn’t), which was almost completely emptied. We were moving out, having almost a goodbye ceremony, and a couple of family members were there alongside. I was making a big display from things we couldn’t take with us, using passed-down pieces of ancestral furniture, and we were putting up photos of the family in good times, in nice frames, a true memorial. We knew we couldn’t take any of those items with us – not even the photographs – only in our minds, our hearts, perhaps a snapshot – but even the frames and pictures had to stay, a memorial to those who once lived and loved inside those walls. We were building it slowly, working with great love.
As we worked, I was also digging through the house’s nooks and crannies to find the last little things to be cleared out. This was a good chance to notice all the work we’d done to the place, trying to fix it up and make it nice. All the generations of curtain racks and shades we had hung, their mountings, thinking of how much work that had been. All done so diligently and excitedly at the time – it was a big deal when we could afford something new. When we first put up the little twist blinds, instead of the pull down shades. Putting up new sets of curtains – how much work that had been – and now all the blinds were down, there was nothing there anymore, and no one but us to appreciate all the work we had done, trying to make that farmhouse pretty.
All that was left was reality. Just like my childhood poem.
One reality was that we had to move on.
Another reality was that my childhood wasn’t very pretty, in some ways. I never knew how poor we were growing up. I didn’t understand why Mom didn’t want company. We worked hard to keep things spotlessly clean in the middle of fifty miles of dirt fields. I and my brother were constantly starting projects to fix things up, make a pretty mailbox, a flower garden, a new fruit tree, another layer of paint. It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized how poor we had been, how shabby our surroundings. And I learned to be ashamed of it. How I hated those old cars we drove – so humiliating. Why couldn’t we have a normal car? Why couldn’t we *be normal?
But the thought that comes this morning – “Take the love and let the rest go.” Even down to that dream – take the love in those photographs – because we did love, as much as we were capable – and let the rest go. Little Mary loved those people with all her heart, and that was a very, very big heart. She didn’t care about the money. She didn’t care about the abuse. She didn’t care about all the things that shouldn’t have been. She didn’t know any better, so she couldn’t compare. She couldn’t define dysfunctional. She didn’t know about boundaries. But she did know how to love. And she didn’t even have to try. It just happened naturally – because that’s what love does. Love doesn’t ask permission. Love just happens. Love doesn’t stop to check directions or the wind or “is this really a good idea?” Love just happens. It flows with a mind of its own, and takes over when it has the will. As my character Gran put it in Going Home, “Love looks for open hearts like water looks for lowest ground, and Gran said if we’d just open our hearts, love would find its own way in.”
We discover that as we go through life. Love still has a mind of its own. We can’t force it, we can’t fake it. We can try – but that won’t last long. But when the heart is there, love just happens.
And as we work with these aspects as we grow older, clearing our baggage from lives and chapters past, we have an option – we can hang on, keep trying to drag all that along with us. Or we can choose the words that came this morning – “Take the love and let the rest go.” Love in whatever shape it was capable of appearing.
Whatever you do today – “Take the love and let the rest go.” And I’ll do my best to do the same.
(C) 2016 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved, especially the one to let that love flow.