This week I’ve been drawn back in time through memory and face to face, spinning into decades ago when I didn’t focus on my future but ran with a few dealing with the very immediacy we were facing. The day to day. We were late to college, already having babies, divorcing and reconfiguring, shifting apace with the swift seasons. We leaned heavily on each other each and every hour. Generally desperate to laugh or write or cry or paint or sort out a way through life’s obstacles. Our twenties and thirties are woven into a shared crazy quilt that binded all our loose strings. Last weekend, after decades apart, we were us once more.
In any group, each individual settles into a role. This seems to be true in families of any sort and is true for us too. There is one of us always brings poetry. In the way she moves or gestures or just sees. Acts as a reminder of the mystical. Metaphorically fashions the altar, with gold and myrrh, always leading us to the ethereal. Elegantly. After we met she shared:
Bathed in astonishing light
The gift of a thousand tears
Crystal patterns of the creative unconscious
We are ruby, emerald, diamond and rose
Right? She just takes you there.
Another arrived with raw truth under her nails. A living reminder to get our hands dirty and face the old haunts. But during this visit she also reminded us to find the light. To move along in that direction. To let go and feel that warmth, that ease, that joy. And it is easy to do with her smile.
The third always brought wisdom. You know that friend. The one you call when everything has crumbled to pieces, again, and you can’t find your way, but in her calm you take a breath. All is still a mess but with her you find the strength to face another tomorrow. She’s an eddy, a circular current, bringing us back around. True then, still true now.
I think I know what I offer to them, but perhaps that’s for each of them to say. What I know for sure is that even though I survived the last two decades without their constant support, it was harder. Harder to not hear all their resounding voices as I navigated life’s labyrinth of challenges. Harder to feel fully me. In their presence I am reminded where I come from.
I am from the docks
from strong boats that pull and haul and direct
vessels in and out of the harbor
from diving into deep waters and watching as the light leads me deeper
I am from the surgeon’s hands
smooth and steady and accurate
from a vivacious woman who loved red lipstick and big parties
and rolling up her sleeves to do the hard work too
I am from sorrow and shame and abuse
from churning in that mess to make something of myself regardless
I am from faith and hope and story
rewriting what might have been into something stronger and lighter and joyful
from a place of adoration and love with my own special loves
I am from these women who surround solid as oaks
in memory and here today
I don’t know how often our paths will cross in the future, but I am reminded of that crazy creative me when I look into their eyes, and I’m so thrilled to be in her company, with them, again.