By that I mean, there is power in blood ties between people who are family.
I spent a day with my two sisters. One is seven years older, and one is seventeen months younger. We have been elastic in our ways of relating; bodies and souls. Sometimes life has brought us under the same roof and into proximity and sometimes life has found us far distant from each other. We have gone our ways into and through life.
And, we are home for each other. Our mother has recently died. We are finding that home is a moveable tabernacle. One of us recently grappled with the heart terror of loving a child who literally fell from the sky. Given a one percent chance of survival, her son is alive. Today we found a dress for my sister to wear to her son’s miracle wedding.
How did she have the courage to endure? How will we each find the courage to face all that life has yet to present us?
I believe in the power of the song of the blood. We are part of a tribe of almost relentlessly positive, foolishly tenacious people. We curse and we weep and we reach for and we hold one another and somehow we remember who we are and from whence we came.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m ever going to make it home again. It’s so far and out of sight. Carole King
Carole King’s Tapestry album was soundtrack for my adolescence.
One of the songs on the album finds the singer wondering if she will ever make it home again. Tired and dispirited, she knows the longing for a place that will take her in and hold her gently.
I am headed to just such a place. This Memorial Day weekend I will be home again. In a few short hours I will join my guy and my dog in the car for the journey to the cabin that has been in our family for fifty years. My girls and my new sons will join us in reading, coffee communion and lake watching.For nearly all of my life I have climbed into the lap of the logs and the water and the space of being home.
Going home is particularly poignant this year. My mother died two months ago and her being in that space echoes yet so I will miss her and celebrate her as the weekend unfolds. My father died in that space the day after Memorial Day twenty years ago. His presence lives in the logs.
And, I will be meeting with a realtor in order to learn what might be in store for me as I consider selling the cabin.
How can I let her go?
My sense of “home” has changed. For the years following my parent’s divorce and in the years following my own divorce I clung to the cabin with a sort of Scarlett O’Hara fierceness. I would not let it go. I could not let it go. The cabin was my childhood and my adulthood and it was my solace and it continues to be more things than my tender psyche will ever be able to articulate.
But home? I am learning that home is a movable gift. Home is where my loves are. Home is not frozen in place nor is it frozen in time. It is ongoing in its unfolding and for this I give thanks.
I don’t have to own the cabin to give thanks for my parents and my childhood and my children and the generations of friends who have shared cabin life with me and mine.
I don’t have to wonder if I’ll ever make it home again.
I went to church every Sunday while I was growing up.
Rarely did I get to sit with my parents during worship. My dad was up in the pulpit preaching and leading worship and my mom was in the choir lending the gift of her voice to the mix. Often I was in the pew company of my siblings. My older siblings tolerated the presence of my younger sister and me. We were preacher’s kids: watched and alone together.
When I did get to sit by my mom for worship, it was a treat. She smelled good. She sang harmony on the hymns. She did more than tolerate me. I could mold myself to her side and play with the rings on her fingers and when it was time for offering, she gave me a dime to put in the plate. I was no spectator. I was a contributor.
My mother’s birthday is this Sunday. She will be 85. What I came to realize is that more than anything else I wanted to sit by her side during worship. I never get to do that, since I am now the one in the pulpit and she lives four and a half hours away. On her birthday I wanted to be next to her in worship savoring her good smell, her fine harmony, and the unnameable gift that is her presence in this world.
I took Sunday off. I will be by my mother’s side as we share a pew and our gratitude to God for the brambles and beauties of life.
And maybe, just maybe, she will give me a dime to put in the offering plate.
My beloved has left on a jet plane. He is Hawaii bound. He will join his two older sisters for a sacred time of sharing breath and paying homage to the odd and powerful mystery of kinship.
Cooper’s eldest sister is dying. There have been years of silence and wrangle and now, now the time for transcending hurt has come.
It seems fitting, somehow. In the midst of paradise three people of soul and story will open themselves to the ache of the old and the invitation of the new and their vulnerable courage will free them each.
We are called to such freedom. The compassionate heart of the Christ calls us to such freedom.
A new year dawns.
We are the vulnerable and courageous and life is so very short.
May the time of transcending hurt come to us each.