Over a long and lazy holiday weekend my mother told me that as a child I spent hours on end locked in my room reading, reading, reading and writing, too. She always felt, she added matter-of-factly, that I’d grow up to be a writer. In the midst of preparing a day after Christmas meal where wine and sweets still decorated the kitchen table and my feet were snuggled in my new Dearfoam slippers, I stopped briefly to savor her sentence. What at first could have been construed as casual words took hold and there, found depth and significance. A wave of heat swept through me, like a shot of tequila or whiskey, and almost for a moment I felt like a baby weeping. I knew just then that I had forgotten entirely that my mother was the first human being to know me. Simple words dashed across a black bar stool, treasures buried along the way, lost and found map of my destiny, insight into my present world, a moment of time travel, if you will – where I meet my mother again in a past when we shared everything and further beyond still when we shared just one body.
It occurs to me later on, that life has a tendency of wrapping our souls with layers and layers of thin strips of gauze and that while each strip is light and transparent, together they form a firm cast that tends to freeze, immobilize, paralyze movement. Are we locked into a frame of time in order to heal? Are we after all broken from the start? Is this original sin – born with the need for a little bit of fixin’? And as day break becomes sun down and another day looses shape, it dawns on me that perhaps we spend the greater part of our adult lives peeling layers and layers of gauze trying to find our way back in! The cast of life is ultimately a temporary state of being for healing.
When I was a child I left a letter for my step-father on the table outside my bedroom door. He always worked late and often came home after I had already gone to bed. The fact is, I don’t remember what was written in that folded letter of hope, but I do recall hearing his laughter through the door and him saying to my mother something to the effect of it being a childish love letter of sorts. I fell asleep ashamed. The next day, he was gone again and the letter was never mentioned, as if somehow it was a crack in time that evidently found no place, no relevance, no existence. The days that followed, I dodged him, knowing that I had somehow exposed too much and that he gratefully, silently agreed. How could I have allowed myself to fall into rare vulnerability? Many years later, I fumble through the gauze to show you folks this memory and let me tell you what to see.
Every time we write, there is a tender moment of childlike innocence exposing the real thing. It is the more too often silent self that rarely people see. It is a micro-revolution, a surrender from the fight. It is a glimpse into a hidden world, sacred and vulnerable and in spite. To exercise voice is an act of faith that behind the hundreds of layers that life has cast upon us, underneath in voice, it ceases to bleed. And in this case and perhaps in all cases since we are all a part of one complex relationship (and because in fact, we are all the same), memory becomes more valuable than diamonds in exchange. As my mother’s words tumbled effortlessly from her mouth, a thought, a slip, a mere memory – to me, well, to me, it was a powerful moment of synergy that in an instant of time connected me to all of my life and eternity. Like wise, by revealing my step-father’s insensitivity, I have leaped and crossed over time, and it is after all like the ghost of Christmas Past, a total act of forgiveness.
When I was a young adolescent I’d visit a friend and we’d run across town. We spoke of first loves and innocence. We called our spiritual connection God-like children. Dare I digress?
Children are so, so innocent. They embody truth and faith and love, and so painful it can be rubbed up against the wrong energy! That is why as parents we work so hard to protect our sons and daughters because we know, from first hand experience that they do not come to us broken. Children come to us whole.
And therefore, it is impossible for me to believe in original sin.
Like the holidays, it’s easy to lose track of days, the hours shift us into different modes, we reconnect with loved ones, we speak of memories and the deceased, we find that we are still scared and running away from the same things. We pass on tradition and try so hard to create new ones for the sake of our children and we tell the truth and not so truth of old stories that honor the spirit of giving. It’s hard not to get lost in all this stuff, get through the layers and layers of egg nog and gauze. How hard it is to make a decision to unbury the past, check out if the old wounds have healed, wrap up a different time, a plate, a piece of cake with Saran Wrap instead, store the left overs and break bread and get all choked-up over absolutely nothing in those moments where we find each other in the night and bump into everything that is everything that binds our lives together indefinitely.
While I did not expect to this year, this Christmas reminds me of forgiveness and healing. And while I wondered what gift to gift a man who has everything, I decided to buy nothing. Instead, I dug deeper into my pockets still and found forgiveness. Break through the cast and find. Under the layers and layers and layers of wrap, accept pure, 100%, organic, homegrown, wild caught L.O.V.E. And then, gently, try again.