My friend Joyce came over to give me a guided imagery session, to help me find my guide to ask for advice and support on what to do and choose.
My mother's mother has often guided my life, her belief in Christian Science, garnered in the 20's when she lived in the Bay area and traveled to Carmel on weekends to sleep on the beach. She was a career woman, and gave speeches on how the world would change when women took their full place in it. She was tall and always well-dressed, and was the assistant to the head librarian at Indiana University until she died at the age of 68.
And my other grandmother. Well, perhaps she too, was always well-dressed, so bright and cheery, often an apron over her clothes, as she loved to cook, but when she went out shopping, she was quite spiffy indeed. Somehow at not even five feet, she birthed my dad who became 6 foot two. She has been coming to me in my dreams, and I know that my love of baking comes through her, and her strength now, her face is what I see. Her husband died during the depression. She took a job as a cashier in a grocery store so her three children, 10, 11, and 12 would always have food. My father won a full scholarship to an excellent Catholic high school, and, from that, always embraced the church, even though he gave up mass when he married my mother because of birth control, a mortal sin.
When we came to San Diego when I was 13, he found a priest who said birth control was not a sin, and so he began going to mass daily. He gained something from it. My mother was in disdain that such an intelligent man could fall for such drivel. I had not perhaps realized until today my conflict around religion and spirituality. When I came to Rosen, my mother was sure I had entered a cult. She was threatened by it, saw it as taking me away from her, as she felt Christian Science took her mother away from her when her mother attended conferences and spoke in front of the church.
Today, I saw my father's mother as a fairy angel, and she presented me with a treasure chest, and I pulled out pearls (of wisdom) and then, I realized it was a rosary, and Jesus was there, and his mother and Mary Magdalen. I felt whole somehow, unified in acknowledging that Christian Science will not serve me so well right now. I must take the hand that resurrects. In that, I unite something that has struggled inside, and therein is the gift.
Jane wrote this poem this morning. I offer it, full-hearted to you.
All my joys and sorrows
my stories, remembered and forgotten
Hang on a line like laundry.
I am the line held at two points,
My beginning and my end.
One thread through time,
Frayed and breaking some
Worn at an odd place in the middle,
Repaired by a piece of tape farther along
And tied to a newer length of hemp
My ease and tensions are decided by
its absence, presence.
As it pulls on me
Sometimes in heaving tugs
And wild flappings.
And you are the line in the neighbor yard.
Lives laid parallel
Different but close enough
To imagine being sisters
And from your yard you whisper to me
About the moles and the butterflies
About the laundry on your line
the bright colors and the sometimes sober privateness.
Sometimes I imagine
we are holding the ends of a jump rope
in a long ago school yard
swinging our lines in double dutch
over the heads and under the feet
of our children our parents our ancestors
our fractures, our wholeness
our stories, our beginnings
Ah, such a place to breathe.