A Child Alone?I don't have a picture sitting with my parents. Not together. Not the three of us. I was first born of my parents. We have some family pictures, but most of the pictures I have are of me alone or only with my mother. So, this morning I visualized myself sitting with both parents. I thought about all that I am and all that I received from them. But, as Gibran writes--I came through them, a differentiation that is critical. I am my own person.
What started this reflection was having had my chart done recently. Money has been a critical hurdle for me. It isn't that I don't work. I do. I work harder than most people I know. I don't sleep my life away. I have created some critical pieces that add to the turning of the world's axis. I'm intelligent, educated, and for the most part, having a hard time getting and keeping a job. A job. Regular income. But, I have never stopped working.
I believe that I'm called to do something good, to leave for my children, as my parents left me, a legacy. The question is a legacy of what? And then this idea that I never sat with my parents was a start. I was either with my mother, and sometimes my father, but never the two of them together. Yet, I always felt caught in the middle of them. My mother compensated by buying me things. My father didn't try to compensate for anything. In fact, he often withheld the things I craved the most. It wasn't to hurt me. I don't believe it was ever that. It was to hurt my mother who then would compensate for what my father didn't give me. It was a vicious circle because my mother could never compensate for his failure. It wasn't her job. Because she compensated with "things" I was taught a lesson that stuck with me and created this circle of "if you love me, you will give me things." Pitiful? Yeah, I guess so. But, that's not the reason for this post. It also is not a post to bash my parents.
I came through them.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
What this reflection is doing for me is honoring my parents as the bow that sent me forward. I could learn from them and I did, but not all of the lessons are lessons I should keep. Some must be discarded. I must discard my mother's shame for having me out of wedlock, for feeling that she did something wrong in not giving me my father for several years. She blamed herself. I must discard my father's judgment that it was my mother's fault that I was born. She got pregnant on purpose to ensnare me. Then there was my father's fear that he was not as valuable as the other man, that he lacked in something. It is probably why he would not stay where he felt dishonored. Fear, judgment and shame cannot dwell in the house of tomorrow. Their tomorrow is my today and I must discard that which they created to make me like them.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.Then Gibran goes on to say that "You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts." WOW! Because I did learn some of what they inadvertently taught, I got caught up in the yesterdays that I have lived in for far too long. But, sitting this morning visualizing my parents on either side of me as I write this, I know that I have their love and I release their thoughts. I can write my assumptions, but I cannot know their real thoughts because what I learned was mirrored in their actions, not their words. What was mirrored was seen through the eyes of child who could not discern the meaning, but only absorb ideas and beliefs that were designed to make her life them.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
Ideas about worth were issues my parents suffered with. My mother's blackness, her feminity. My father's blackness, his masculinity. They suffered. I was marked by their suffering that even though I never sat between them, I was between them all along. But, God's mercy endures forever. The plan, according to Kahlil, is that God is the author and finisher of our faith. He is the archer, the creator. My parents were the bow and they were often sturdy. I know they loved me and as I sit her with them on either side of me, I feel them nodding approval. I am their arrow. They were my bow. I'm sent forth already and with the archer, I will hit the mark! I have to because the lessons of the bow were stable enough to help me land.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
God loved us all. He gave me to you for safekeeping. It was done well and the lessons are learned, but forgiveness must be the cornerstone of the lessons. I love you. I forgive you. Forgive me, too.