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Posts Tagged ‘love’

My love is like a roaring, engorged river,

Endless and amazing.

On the bank I hold my breath,

Feel the rumble through the soles of my feet

And shiver in the explosion of raw power.

My love is like a silk sarong,

Exquisite and soft and enrapturing,

So precious and cherished.

Tears teeter at the corners of my eyes,

Water drop memories erupting from my throat.

My love is like the blood throbbing in the neck of a sleeping newborn,

Of a poised lion, of a seductive man, of a rageful woman.

The same pulse and swelled pause,

Never ceasing, never needing to ask why.

My love is a carefully built nest

Of expectant and adoring robins,

Blending and weaving and imagining

A blessed, billowy embrace for their beloved baby.

My love is like the nimble, fearless cat,

Each step an act of limber grace,

Each movement purposeful and unencumbered,

Stretching and preening and purring in confident abundance.

My love is like a giant sunflower, full and heavy with seed,

Head bent, strong and resilient in the wind,

Utterly breathtaking in the expansiveness

Of a cobalt blue-sky background.

My love is like the breath of God,

In and around and within all the utterings and sounds.

There before the sound begins,

Lingering afterward like a sweet fragrance.

My love confirms my soul’s desire

To know itself as divine.

“It’s true,” I say,

And my soul exhales and expands.

My love shines like a home

Beaming out into the gathering night.

The night lightens and opens and gives way,

And the world inhales and gathers home.

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Nostalgia… no not really.  Sentimental… yes, more this.  The feeling of sweetness, sunshine and fresh lemon-lime-spring day, mother’s, grandmother’s, aunt’s favorite perfumes and lipsticks, the way everyone feels when you give the “family hug” (nephew feels weightless, other nieces/nephews feel tentative and impatient, dad feels strong and tight, mom feels cool yet loyal, one sister feels rushed, the other sister feels attentive and lingering, brother feels like hugging busy thoughts instead of flesh).  A niece’s (well not really, my cousin’s daughter, not sure what you call this) wedding, wanted to do it HER way (got to love the independence), rock music down the aisle, female minister’s casual and flip marriage ceremony script, girls in sandals, and the reception with lots of beer and wine, first dances while everyone hungrily waits for the buffet to start, KC and the Sunshine band songs, line dancing.  My family, the “saintly, churchgoing pod” sequestered to tables on the fringe by my sister and the cousins “raised by the alcoholic (divorced father) reaps alcoholic children clan” splashed throughout the dining tables randomly.

After my mother, father and my sister  leave after eating (mom doesn’t want to see everyone get DRUNK), my brother, wife,  kids and I have fun dancing and mingling with the “others.”  Beautiful string lights under the canopies, the air clear and just the right coolness.  My cousin Johnny, who was recovered for about 10 years and then relapsed, who never liked kids (in fact would usually leave any gathering early with kids present) tells me that his live-in girlfriend has a “no-good” daughter with a 2 year son, Travis, who comes in from day care with his arms open wide for his “Johnny” to kiss and hold him, then “sit on floor with me” to play cars.  Johnny’s eyes teared up, “I’m afraid to push his mom to straighten up because I don’t want him going out into the world with HER.”  I could feel my heart split, some because looking at Johnny is like peering into my father’s face (they look identical, Johnny’s mother is dad’s sister) and some because Johnny was completely and utterly smitten and I felt a wash of relief for the child.  I told Johnny, “At least he has KNOWN love… he will never forget that, it will be inside him all his life.  No matter what happens to him, your love has penetrated and it has taught him what love feels like.”  “I hope so,” Johnny says weakly, as if talking about the intensity of his feelings has spent him emotionally.

I do a crazy, hip/hop dance with the mother of the bride (my cousin), the photographer behind her catching her spastic body convulsions, and she tells me afterward that her daughter didn’t want her help with any of the wedding (just write the checks, mom).  Not really pain in her face, but mostly confusion about what to feel, what it means to have such a strong-willed daughter (carbon copy of herself).  She flips the emotions off quickly, responding to the pull of the bar for another “gin and tonic.”

Looking through the pictures the next day, I edit and crop a picture of mom and dad, walking hand and hand.  It splits me open again, like a fresh strawberry, weeping on the counter.  I am a mixture of feelings but the flush remains in the sentimental category.  I come from parents who have stayed together for 60 years.  I marvel at the steadiness of that fact and the paradox of my own status as a 3rd marriage-goer.  There is a tenderness that runs like a rooted vein through the years of their marriage.  I have benefited from its nourishment.  I have garnered loyalty and accountability qualities of my own.  I watch my children swim in the quiet pool of this heritage.  Yes I have rebelled the tightness, the fear-based judgments of “others,” the lack of adventure.  But the cadence of my life was initiated by a marriage made for “better or worse” and I feel a need to honor that, let it resonate my bones and celebrate its existence.  Thus my ability to KNOW when I told Johnny that his love has not been wasted on Travis.  Travis has known love.  He will never lose that.  This I know.

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An Army Angel

Today, a Monday morning, as I approached the hospital cafeteria coffee machine, a tall, clean-cut young man was bent over the counter, pouring creamer into a couple cups of coffee.  You could tell he was an attentive, considerate kind of person in the way he attempted to move in the right direction to allow me access to the coffee as I approached him from behind.  Looking at me directly, his greeting was warm. I inquired whether he was here because he had someone in the hospital.  “Yes, ma’am, my mother is here.” “Are we treating her okay and is she doing better?” “Oh yes, everyone has been great.  She’s probably going home this morning.”  He had a humble, grateful presence about him that made him seem much more mature than the barely over 20 years that he probably was. “Has she been here all weekend?” I asked as I poured my coffee. “She’s actually been here since last Tuesday,” he said and I noticed now that his kind, gentle face showed signs of weariness.  The softness of his face stood in contrast to his strong, physically fit, man-body.  “I had to take a medical leave of absence to be here with her.  Those chair-beds get old after a week.”  “You’re in the military?”  “Yes ma’am.  I’m in the army.  Fort Benning.”  I was astounded and deeply touched.  “You’ve been here all week with your mother?”  “Yes ma’am, I came up here Tuesday to be with her.”  I could feel tears start up in my eyes at the tenderness, the wonder of a “military guy” loving his mother so much that he would be with her night and day at the hospital.  That he would ask for time off from his commander, that he would curl his tall frame into an uncomfortable chair for a week of sleepless nights, that he was so unassuming and yet spoke so appreciatively about the staff’s care of his mother.  I thanked him for his service to our country, for the sacrifices he undoubtedly makes.”  Blushing, he said, “I thank YOU for supporting what we do.”  Saying our “see you laters.” we parted our ways.  My heart was full and yielding.  A son’s devoted love for his mother, unashamed and pure in intent.  The world felt soft and full and hopeful.  I had been touched by a goodness that was bigger than one fine, young man; I had witnessed God’s heart alive and tangible.  Monday morning, coffee and an army angel.  The week can commence!

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