Saturday, October 1, 2011

Because There Is The Promise Of Joy, I Go On...

"Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow...
Joy shall be reflected in all things."

~ Helen Keller ~

Dear Ones...

Some of you have never been here before. Some of you have come to this blog for many years and know my story. In the end, or rather the beginning, or most importantly now, nothing matters except this moment.

In this moment, on the first of October, in the year 2011, the temperature has dropped dramatically and I have all the windows in the house open and a cool, slightly chilly breeze wafts in, rinsing the house clean, lifting my spirits, rendering me almost a little too cold but fully alive, more alive than I have been in months. Some people suffer in the winter from lack of light, they burrow in under covers like bears wintering over in a cave not daring to venture out or fully live again until the winter is over. I love winter, autumn has always been my favorite time of year, I suffer terribly in summer's heat, but in the dog days of summer there is the promise of fall to come. Leaves changing color, frost on the grass, geese honking overhead as they fly south, the dogs running in the yard and frolicking instead of drooping out -- I droop with them -- to do their business and then we all creep back in, thanking God for air conditioning, and looking to better days when we can take deep breaths of fresh air that make our lungs tingle, that make us laugh.

I could tell you all about my past, my childhood,  young adulthood, marriage and motherhood, divorce and coming into a whole new life at midlife as well as all that I am doing in my life today but it really wouldn't matter. Who were you yesterday? Who will you be tomorrow? You can really barely remember the former, not in the clarity of pure truth, you have no idea what the future holds, but oh, my heavens, look to today! It is full of potent possibility abundant. There may be sadness, tears, heartache and hard times in your life but there is always the promise of joy just around the corner. There is in mine.

A joyful heart is the inevitable result of  heart burning with love."
~ Mother Teresa ~

I used to feel shy and melodramatic when saying such a thing but I can tell you, right now, in this moment, that I am unequivocally in love with the whole world and every one in it. Everyone. Inside the worst criminal on earth there was once a tiny seed of potential. The crimes he commits are terrible tragedies, but one wonders if the greatest tragedy of all is that that light went out inside of him. Imagine who he or she might have been had that light grown and grown into a kind of holy brilliance that could have changed the world. These are the great losses, but thank God there are so many more good people that come fully into this life with their whole being facing each day as a rich new blessing that they intend to live to the fullest. I think the bravest person I ever knew was my mother. Despite the fact that we had often had a difficult relationship, and one that really no one ever understood, we made peace in the end and loved each other dearly when she passed. Every day, through a painful, shattering, life-diminishing cancer that destroyed her body -- Multiple Myeloma -- there was not a day when you would talk to her and in the worst of her pain and long after she had gone blind, she always started her day saying, "Every day's a good day, it is what you make it." Until she was absolutely unable, she got up, got her bath, made her bed, dressed and did her best to put some makeup on, and someone drove her to very early Mass where she led the congregation in the rosary before the service began. She was truly an inspiration to all who knew her, and that phrase will stay with me until the end of my days, "Every Day's A Good Day, It Is What You Make It." If a dying woman in terrible pain who has gone blind and has to spend 2 days a week getting a complete blood transfusion and platelets the next can say that with a smile on her face and a softness and belief in her heart as she said, even while she was dying, how could I possibly do anything else?

"Every Day's A Good Day, It Is What You Make It."
~ My Mom ~
This moves me doubly deeply because it reminds me of one of my favorite passages ever, written by Colette about her mother Sido. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read in my life...


You ask me to come and spend a week with you, which means I would be near my daughter, whom I adore. You who live with her know how rarely I see her, how much her presence delights me, and I'm touched that you should ask me to come and see her. All the same I'm not going to accept your kind invitation, for the time being at any rate. The reason is that my pink cactus is probably going to flower. It's a very rare plant I've been given, and I'm told that in our climate it flowers only once every four years. Now, I am already a very old woman, and if I went away when my pink cactus is about to flower, I am certain I shouldn't see it flower again.

So I beg of you, sir, to accept my sincere thanks and my regrets, together with my kind regards."

"This note, signed 'Sidonie Colette, néeLandoy,' was written by my mother to one of my husbands, the second. A year later she died, at the age of seventy-seven.

"Whenever I feel myself inferior to everything about me, threatened by my own mediocrity, frightened by the discovery that a muscle is losing it's strength, a desire its power, or a pain the keen edge of its bite, I can still hold up my head and say to myself: 'I am the daughter of the woman who wrote that letter -- that letter and so many more that I have kept. This one tells me in ten lines that at the age of seventy-six she was planning journeys and undertaking them, but that waiting for the possible bursting into bloom of a tropical flower held everything up and silenced even her heart, made for love. I am the daughter of a woman who, in a mean, close-fisted, confined little place, opened her village home to stray cats, tramps, and pregnant servant girls. I am the daughter of a woman who, many a time, when she was in despair at not having enough money for others, ran through the wind-whipped snow to cry from door to door, at the houses of the rich, that a child had just been born in a poverty-stricken home to parents whose feeble, empty hands had no swaddling clothes for it. Let me not forget that I am the daughter of a woman who bent her head, trembling, between the blades of a cactus, her wrinkled face full of ecstasy over the promise of a flower, a woman who herself never ceased to flower, untiringly, during three quarters of a century."

~ Colette, Earthly Paradise ~

I do not fear getting old, nor do I fear dying. What I do hope for, pray for, is that I might be that old woman so full of joy and expectation at the opening of a single flower that she knows she will not  have the opportunity to witness again in her lifetime that she will place it's importance above even seeing her beloved daughter, and knowing that my daughter understood. Can there be any greater love than this?

Last weekend, at the beautiful 4 day Shamballa Master Healer workshop we had an exercise where we were to wander about and look at trees. There was one so big with such a glorious trunk I just sort of fell against it, wrapping my arms around it as far as they would go and laying my head against it's bark. I felt a deep communion between us and I cried. The world is so full of such enormous miracles and connections beyond our human knowing that it is staggering. We need only open our hearts and be to witness and experience it all...
"Being, not doing, is my first joy."
~ Theodore Roethke ~

I am the daughter of a woman who, to her dying day, knew that every single day, no matter what the odds, could be a good day, as good as possible given your circumstances, and that we must never stop believing and trying to make it so. Now that she has been gone nearly two years I feel her presence very near me more and more. It is that place where all is forgiven, no sins were ever committed, and there is only love. I cry as I write this, I cry with joy.

I know mom, every day is a good day, and I plan to make this a splendid one, filled with joy. I love you mom. I love you all...


ropcorn said...

What a beautiful post! I absolutely love all these quotes. Made me really stop and think for a second. All in all I had a very positive and uplifting first visit here. :-) Thank you for sharing!

wintergurl said...

A joyful heart is the inevitable result of heart burning with love."
~ Mother Teresa ~

this is really beautiful saying

Petula said...

Love the quote by Helen Keller and the one by your mom. This is a wonderful post. I didn't know she died of multiple myeloma. I have been in remission with that for quite some time and it appears that I have more lesions. I am awaiting test results as usual. I just take one day at a time and deal with each ailment/disease as best I can.

I really love the cool of fall and would love to open up my windows as you have. I've downgraded to an apartment and there are still some windows without screens and I strongly dislike critters getting in. I prefer the cool as opposed to extremely hot and I don't like extremely cold.

Sometimes I feel a fear of dying, but then sometimes it doesn't really bother me. My fear of it now comes from the fact that in addition to my 20 YO daughter, I have three young ones, 4, 6 and almost 8. They are too young to lose their mother.

Thanks for this post. For the encouragement. For the show and love and endurance, for the normal and extraordinary thoughts. For it all.

Have a great weekend.

Master Blogger said...

Wow this is a nice article about joy, joy has a deep meaning, you give its meaning perfectly and show them how joyful our life can be!
Zero Dramas

Post a Comment