I spent the last four days thinking about my family’s future. Crowding my imagination this Easter break were thoughts of what we might accomplish together, the beautiful corners of the earth where we would love to visit, and all the new places we could live – the communities we could impact. I thought of the futures of my children and I felt good about the people Adam and I have brought into the world. By bedtime last night, I had completely romanticized the idea of running away and living in a yurt by a lake, the four of us sharing this space and finding our best selves – together. Because that’s when we’re good. That’s when we’re really alive – when we’re together. Selfishly absorbed in each other’s presence.
I smiled into my pillow at the thought of Stella’s words that woke me earlier in the day, “Mommy, wake up. The Easter Bunny, he was here! I think he has something special for Alistair!” I fell asleep to memories of Alistair’s sweet laughter as he ran across the lawn picking up colorful eggs containing an assortment of confectioners’ creations. Stella’s humility and Alistair’s generosity, so natural to them and I think, probably important pieces to their future selves. Surely, God is teaching me a lesson through them.
On Saturday, a day of dreaming between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I savored thoughts of the comfort we provide each other, and the lessons we can learn from each other’s existence, the kids and Adam and me. However, I couldn’t help also thinking of all the children in this world struggling to survive for whatever reason without any familial comforts. Then, I thought of my seven year old self at Easter: joyful, excited, confused, disappointed, anxious. I didn’t want to see this version of myself, I rarely let her out. But I couldn’t get her to shut up yesterday, and my second grade self asked my 32 year old self, “Where is my mother?”
“I don’t know,” I apologized with vague sadness to that little girl in my mind. I could ask her now, my mother, but these are things I do not look forward to discussing on the occasion, when every two years or so, we get together for just a few hours. Why would I sacrifice that sacred time with her, that time she has with my children, to ask her where she was when I was a little girl? Does it matter where? Or, does it only matter that she was not with me? Knowing the place, the circumstances, or the sadness that surely lived in her own heart will not help to fill the abandoned place in my spirit where she should have dwelt all those years.
In these thoughts, I found a dingy area of my spirit in need of some serious spring cleaning. Some people need answers from their perpetrators for closure. I’ve discovered over the years that I’m not one of these people. I need time to think, to process and organize the struggle I’m having. Then, I need time to pray. After a lot of meditation, I need time to organize the results. The “T” in my personality type requires this tedious series of events. I don’t actually need contact with a specific person. I just have to dig deep and connect with the Spirit. I sometimes wish I could call a person on the phone, talk through the issues, and feel better afterwards. Instead, I walk labyrinths. I write about my hatred and anger, often in lists, then burn the papers to rid myself of those burdens. I say things aloud to the passing breeze, and let my troubles go with the wind.
Today, on Renewal Monday – while people in the Netherlands are enjoying festive breakfasts and hiking the country side – I will release myself of the Unfreedom of abandonment. Channeling Stella’s humble nature and Alistair’s kindness, I have decided to write a list of all the times I can remember wishing my mother was with me, and to burn that list along with fallen sticks from last autumn. I will choose to love her. I will choose to forgive her for whatever circumstances separated us. I will pray for her to feel peace in her own spirit. Lastly, I will send her a letter. I will tell her that I have thought often of the long stretches we spent away from each other, and I will tell her that I don’t care about the why or the where. I only care that we can still seek sanctuary in each other – today. A grace that was granted to me by God, I will accept and pass on to my mother.
What Unfreedoms are you holding onto? What might you let go to seek growth in yourself during this season of new beginnings?
In this Week of Renewal, I’m spring cleaning my spirit, renewing my sense of morality, and turning myself into a place where God loves to dwell. I hope you come back later this week to read about how I’m challenging what I thought I knew about my own morality, and what I’m doing to make myself a constant living space for love and grace.
Agere Contra, friends.