Saturday, May 15, 2010

Food for Thought, A Midnight Snack

“Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.” Henry Miller

"I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself.  But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself.  It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes--it is inevitable.  But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all.  So you say to people who you think you may have injured, 'I'm sorry,' and then you say to yourself, 'I'm sorry.'  If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being.  You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self.  I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves.  Now mind you.  When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that's rough.  But you can overcome that.  The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.  If we don't have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach."--Maya Angelou

Two very powerful, thought-provoking quotes.  I will come back to these often myself, for guidance, inspiration, and a reminder that I am flawed, but I am also forgiven.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Who Says You Can't Go Home?

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.
Click your heels three times, and repeat after me:  "There's no place like home."
Home Sweet Home.
Home is where the heart is.
Mama I'm comin' home.
"Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to."--John Ed Pearce
"Home is where you can say anything you please, because nobody pays any attention to you anyway."--Joe Moore

Home.  A simple, four-letter word that has such depth and meaning.  It might invoke bad memories for some, good memories for others, and for others, they create a home wherever they go.  A house is merely an abode, a structure with four walls and a roof that allows us to weather the storm, a lifeless, breathless mass of wood/cement/aluminum/brick that offers us repose.  It has no heart, no soul, no voice...until someone calls it home.

I recently had the luxury of spending a week in my childhood home, with my parents.  Such vitality in that house, though the occupants grow more frail with each year of age on their life tally sheet.  Everyone--family, friends, and even strangers--will feel it, the homeyness pulsates, radiates, so inviting.  I feel peace when I am there, like all is right in the world, the universe is aligned, order wins over chaos, and I can breathe and be myself and know that's all that is expected of me.  I belong.  No questions asked.  I am one of them.  They are my people.  They will always love me, and sometimes that is just what I need, to be loved for who I am.  My parents created me, so who better to accept me than them?  

I am extremely blessed.  I had an A-1 childhood, and the memories that come back to me each time I cross through the doorway wrap around me like a homemade quilt, surrounding me with love and laughter and a warmth that stays with me long after I leave.  We didn't have everything we wanted growing up, but we had everything we needed.  We were our own planet, the Nuthouse--we were all we needed.  Dad, Mom, four sons, three daughters, a crazy, fun bundle of family life.  It never occurred to me that some families who gather for the holidays invite cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents etc, because we had a full house with just us.  And that was fine.  The insanity continued of course when we married, and had our children but still, my parent's house, my childhood home, was where everyone wanted to be.  Our friends called my parents Mom and Dad, and that was fine by them.  Because their home extended to anyone who needed a place to belong.

Home is where the heart is.

I returned home to my family yesterday, adding to the heartbeat by reuniting my daughter to her father and brothers, and mama dog to the boy dogs.  I stepped into chaos.  I was gone a week, and as I crossed the doorway I shed my calm, folded the homemade quilt tucking it neatly away with a longing sigh and grabbed my cape, not eager to return to my role as SuperMom, able to leap tall stacks of laundry in a single bound.  They came at me from all sides, this and that and more of that and then this again...I wanted to take out my ears and relish the distorted quiet.  Alas, I couldn't, for this is my chaos, my heartbeat, and as much as I wanted to run back to the quiet of my childhood home, I knew I was needed here.  I do what others don't want to, I take control and hear complaints when I do.  I was gone a week--seven days--and my house was like an unraveled ball of yarn.  For all the good they did, something was undone, and by the time I crawled into bed at 2 a.m. I felt sad, I felt lonely, I felt overwhelmed...I felt like running home.  Because let's face it, even Moms need to go home, even Moms need a break.  We need to be permitted to be our aliases from time to time, to recharge our batteries, to recoup our thoughts, to regain our strength so that we can keep the heartbeat loud and strong in our homes.  When reality crashes down upon you, washing you up on the rocks, you feel it--in body, heart, soul, and mind--and no apple a day or two aspirins are gonna wipe that away.  But our family will.  They are our salve, our pain relievers, our reason why we don our capes and selflessly march off to face hard cold reality every day.  You get no thanks, SuperMom.  Sometimes you're even cast as a villain.  But it's your home, and you will defend it.  It's what we do.

"Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration."--Charles Dickens

So in one home I felt contentment, peace, relaxation, and I long to be in that home's loving arms.  In the other home I felt panic, chaos, disruption, anxiety, and I long to escape that home's clawed clutches.  Be it ever so humble...

In one home, I sought refuge from reality, while in the other home I was the refuge that was sought.  And I realized today I belong in both homes.  They are both a part of me, and I need them both, for without chaos I could not realize calm.  I am the extension of heart in one home, but I am the heartbeat in the other.  So my cape, stained with life experiences, wrinkled with time, emblazoned with my emblem, is still mine to wear, and I wear it proudly.  

Whomever said you can't go home again, obviously didn't have a home worth going home to.