Monday, January 31, 2011

Prayer for Healing

Thy name is my healing, O my God,
and remembrance of Thee is my remedy.

Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion.

Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor
in both this world and the world to come.

Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful,
the All-Knowing,
the All-Wise.

a baha'i prayer

Saturday, January 29, 2011

You Learn

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises,

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn...
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure...

That you really are strong

And you really do have worth...

And you learn and learn...

With every good-bye you learn.

Jorge Luis Borges

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Love the Questions

I was sitting in my therapist’s office trying to remember this Rilke quote and all I could remember was “love the questions.” I’ll look up the full quote as soon as my internet is back up and running and include it in this post but for now, I really want to focus on loving the questions.

I’ve been someone’s wife or mother since I was 17 years old. Now I am no longer wearing a wedding ring and my youngest flew the nest 3 years ago. For the first time in my life, I am living alone and I’m trying to figure out what this should look like for me, my life without being defined by roles and expectations of others. Sometimes, I can catch a glimpse of the opportunities for growth this will mean for me. But more often, at least right now, I find myself stuck in the muck of emotions. There is too much quiet and time to dwell on the fear and loneliness. I was reminded today this is grief -- the sadness, the bargaining and the anger. The loneliness can be overwhelming and you feel like it will never be any different. But these feelings will eventually give way to acceptance and hope.

I’m so impatient with myself, wanting to figure it all out, map my course, to know where my life is heading. I SHOULD know the answers, shouldn’t I? But how would I know? I’ve never done this before. I need time to sit the doubt, to embrace the loneliness, to find peace in the acceptance.

I likened it to sitting through winter. Many see winter as a time of death, barrenness, darkness, and cold. But that is only a temporary state and doesn’t really speak to the truth of what is happening in nature at all. The truth is, much of what we think of as life goes dormant in the winter. It’s a season of rest and quiet; a time of gathering nourishment and regeneration. It’s a period of preparation for the Spring that will inevitably come.

So I am in a season of winter in my life. I don’t have the answers and that’s okay. I don’t really know when the spring will come bursting with new life and the wonder that goes along with that, but I know the spring WILL come.

So for now, I will learn to do as Rilke advises in his Letter to a Young Poet:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.