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A love letter from the Mother
This week we talk about love - the big one that we get to feel each day. When we choose to do so, we can look around and see love notes from the Mother all around us. She expresses her love through the stillness of the trees, the fragrance of blossoming flowers, or the splendor of colors in the vast open sky.
There are times when life seems little more than a matter of struggle and endurance, when difficulty and disappointment form a crust around the heart. Because it can be deeply hurt, the heart hardens…Rilke said that during such times we should endeavor to stay close to one simple thing in nature.
When the mind is festering with trouble or the heart torn, we can find healing among the silence of the mountains or fields, or listen to the simple, steadying rhythm of the waves. The slowness and stillness gradually take over... When serenity is restored, new perspectives open to us and difficult can begin to seem like an invitation to new growth. - John O’Donahue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace
As we took time for ourselves this week, we ventured back into nature to recharge. To give our senses a treat and reclaim some energy from the abundant living things that surround us. Walking and talking among the trees, breathing in the fresh air, our minds began to clear as we fell back into the rhythm of dialoguing with each other again.
When beauty touches our lives, the moment becomes luminous. These grace-moments are gifts that surprise us. When we look beyond the moment to our life journey, perhaps we can choose a new rhythm of journeying which would be more conscious of beauty and more open to inviting her to disclose her-self to us in all the situations we travel through. - John O’Donahue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace
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And now a dialogue from our dear friend, storyteller, and mom - Margi who writes about expressing love for her family this week.
We do not have to love. We choose to love. -Bell Hooks
Today is Valentine’s Day 2022, and like many Valentine’s Days before this one, I left a card and a gift for each of my daughters to find at the breakfast table. They are 15 and 11, ages where a Valentine’s treat from mom is hardly the pinnacle expression of love. So unimpressed with my gestures, they even rolled their eyes at the card I left for my husband.
It’s corny, I agree. Sappy and silly and simple.
Honestly, I did not have time for something more elaborate. We had a busy weekend preceded by a busy week preceded by everything that happens every weekend and every week in the life of a family. It’s a constant rush of activities and needs. I failed to get to the store to pick up the items I intended to give them, so at the last minute I improvised. Kicking myself the whole time thinking, “Why on earth did I begin this Valentine’s morning tradition? I don’t have time for this! I’m tired and tapped out and pretty sure they won’t even notice if I skip it this year…”
But the truth is, my daughters and my husband do notice. And they are the loves of my life. And what my tokens of affection do not convey, cannot convey, is the brutal, battle-weary depths of that love.
Not love in the hearts-and-roses sense, but love as Bell Hooks wrote about love; Love as a radical, transformational act. Love that witnesses another person’s struggle and chooses to stay close, lend a hand if needed, or just a shoulder to lean on. Love that says, “I see you. I’m here.”
I mean, truthfully, how many of us are heading into Valentine’s Day 2022 anything but tired and tapped out? Life is hard. And as I look ahead, I don’t see any indication that it’s going to get easier in the near future.
I want to give my daughters the gift of knowing all will be well. Instead of baggies of sweets, I want to give them a world where I can protect them from harm. Obviously, I cannot give them that kind of certainty. Not now, not ever. But I can give them my commitment to choose them, every day, even when I’m tired and tapped out, and my gestures of affection are improvised and imperfect.