Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunshine Let In

My mother’s 85th birthday came last week, a day of blurred images for her like any other. My father understands all too well how the Alzheimer’s has taken her out of reach, but he needed acknowledgement of the special day for himself anyway. His note to his children spread across the country was brief and factual, reminding us that it was a hard day of memories for him, a quiet and rare tear of loneliness.

An atheist and an architect, a man reliant on the curves within a life of structure and order, the world has been well-defined to him. He and my mother raised their children to be brave, productive, community-minded and reverential of creativity in others and especially in themselves. He has been bewildered by those of us who have made choices to embrace that very passion over the normal path of job-security and financial well-being.

He has rarely faltered in giving me thousands and thousands of dollars to bolster my business, loan down payments for a home, and provide the safety net as I have tumbled too many times toward the Crack. He has done so with unconditional love, even long after accepting me as a “disappointment”.

But on this special day of memories for all of us, he wondered aloud—spread out as far apart as we might be—if we all paused to think about Mom at 4 PM while he sat with her, would she feel the love? This from my father is an outstanding illustration of the portals that seem to be opening to so many of us in what I dare to describe as a "new age”.

The concept was identified with exuberance in the Sixties by youthful protestors to a war and a lifestyle, and exalted in a shocking musical about long hair and the Age of Aquarius. Parents like mine were bemused and tolerant, some even joining in; others were terrified with bulging necks of red.

After the war and the disgrace of the Nixonian Doctrine, things slowly returned to normal. Except for quiet enclaves peopled with the likes of my sister Lane and Tom, hippies turned to yuppies (following my Dad’s expectation). Communism collapsed, the SUV and plasma screens became status and, despite oceans of madness and poverty around the world, our lives ticked quietly on.

Equal to the fear that raged in all our hearts, on Sept. 12, 2001, the internet exchanged countless messages of hope, peace and forgiveness. As our government raced towards a war of revenge and oil rights, calm voices counseled that this was their last stand, a final “hurrah” before the forces of compassion, brotherhood and love could unite the world.

Quietly the dawning rises to become the Age of Aquarius, a metaphor as bright as any sun, spreading over people as emotionally conservative as my father, opening hearts to conceptions that were ridiculed forty years ago, and completely inconceivable beyond that. In so many references, from career choices to marriage(s), to the colors of bathroom walls, we are being encouraged to trust intuition over rational influence.

A friend who tragically lost her daughter becomes spiritually attuned, a source of inspiration, guidance and support for anyone in crisis (where she might have been burned at the stake not so many centuries ago). Another continually is urged to drive inexplicably miles out of the way only to come across a soul in peril, desperately in need of the very help that has just arrived.

Physically broken and emotionally drained this morning, I lie unmoving, wondering what can be the purpose of my pain and suffering. That others are so much worse deters me only a little from my melancholy. That they can still so cheerfully wish holiday greetings while I am so humbuggish only makes me feel…grumpier. My family is scattered, my friends all joyful, all (but me, sob, sob) wrapped amongst their own families. The darkness and silence embrace me.

Deep inside, however, comes a will to throw the blanket aside and step into the grey, chilly day. I feel the love in my heart of those friends and family near and wide, who chatter on Facebook, smile from their picture frames, or are just distant memories of some one I used to know—who call me intuitively this early morning to participate in life with whatever humble gifts I have to offer.

No demand is made, no price asked, just welcoming arms out-stretched wherever I choose to look. So much lies before us, a banquet spread abundantly.

We have only to open our arms instead of closing our hearts. One small step after another, leaping towards light, we are in this together, and I am grateful, looking towards the New Year.

Please share with your friends


Deb said...

Amidst the silly banter in my household this morning, I have been reluctant to tear myself away from my computer long enough to get the last minute preparations done. Ah, Kip is blogging! I'll read it, and turn this dang machine off for the day! Well, maybe I'll turn the computer off, but the thoughts in your post will stay with me.
We're ALL lonely in one way or another. And yet we're not alone. Embrace the spirit of this day!

Hayden Tompkins said...

I'm glad that your family was able to 'come together' for your mom. That is such a beautiful and powerful idea!


"As our government raced towards a war of revenge and oil rights"

Well. Freaking. Said.