Tag Archives: mothers

The Advent Writings: holy ground

tonight I took off my shoes….

Sitting by the tree, I was studying herbs. Latin names swirled with the lights as I reached into my memory bank for their common English counterparts. Spanish names danced through, adding color and spice. Classes, and mechanisms of action, layered with properties and contraindications. The course goes back to old Materia Medica material, looking at ancient patterns of use. This rivaled my long ago nursing school pharmacology class! Where in the world did the notion of herbalists as some sort of back woods witch come from?!

The course also invites a stretch, exploring intuition and delving into story. To be a healer, a person must be a student of their own story. You cannot go where you have not gone yourself.

We watched “The Nativity” this weekend. It is a beautiful rendition of what might have been, woven with the well known threads of the story in the ancient texts. It gives permission for my imagination to wonder. As this young man ran through the town, wouldn’t someone have whispered the name of a local healer; a midwife or an herbalist? Where were the wise women? Perhaps not, as birth in its raw and natural state is most often powerful and safe. But there have always been those who honed their gifts. And in a small town, like an inner city Neighborhood, those women are called. I have gone to a woman’s house, unknown to me, with herbs to soothe or a simple syrup to calm. I have held a woman’s hand, gazing deep into her eyes and swaying in the ancient dance; and later learned her name when words returned. Who came alongside in this holy night, in space set apart by the raw power coursing through her body?

The movie also touches on the scandal. Whispers, eyes averted, the presence of absence. These things happen in small towns. My story was hushed, silence protected at all costs. Conservative circles share similarity with small towns.

The old songbook says that the rocks themselves will cry out…. I know that is true. Our very cells, scientists now know, carry cellular memory. Trauma, in particular, imprints in a bath of catecholamines embedded in sensory markers. Until the time is right, and the story births…

After the flight in the night, the refugee years in another country, they returned. Did the whispers begin anew? Small towns have long memories. Particularly around a scandal….

In the glow of the tree, as the firelight danced, conversation flowed with another young man. Teenagers need silent spaces to talk. Then another teen came and plopped down, wanting to share her writing. I looked down, and caught the outline of my Danskos kicked off under the tree. Maybe for a reason….

Perhaps this too, was holy ground. A space, set apart on a Monday, for the herbs and the wondering, teenage talks and the smell of pine.

Coming home

A daughter came home today. I watched for her face in a crowd of strangers. I strained to see her, the anticipation rising in my soul. I felt the sheer delight burst through my spirit as I saw her, and hugged her tight.

I saw a friend once, so precious to my heart, moments after she passed into the Mystery. Her face held that same longing, that delight, like she had just seen someone for whom she had been longing all her life.

I just finished re-reading Frederick Beuchner’s A Sacred Journey:  “we must learn to listen to the cock crows and hammering and tick-tock of our lives for the holy and elusive word that is spoken to us out of their depths.” 

There was a moment when we were all sitting and braiding hair this weekend, a mother and two of her daughters. And for an elusive breath of time I saw the holy. 


Jeans shopping 

I went Jeans shopping with my middle schooler. Long legs poking out of last year’s pants, and fall temperatures dipping into the 90s, combined with an Old Navy sale to lure us out. 
We both found jeans that fit perfectly; an amazing feat. She doesn’t know that women of all ages can dread jeans shopping and swimsuit shopping. To her it’s just fun. As it should be, right, before evil moves in to steal the goodness.
My “littles” are feeling the need to educate me about middle school. They put words to the contradictions and expectations that swirl through the halls; with the plaid skirts and polo shirts.

Tonight I heard more: “middle school girls want to fit in or stand out”. “They want to be beautiful so they can feel complete.” Ah, twelve.

Memories of twelve flit through my mind as we drive past the Highschool I attended. It is near enough to our house that I could hear the fight song while I was in labor with my second.

I remember the watching, the listening, the trying to figure it all out. It often seemed that there were rules that everyone else knew. To fit in was how you stood out, somehow. To stand out was to destroy the possibility of fitting in.

My middle school son wonders why it is so much harder for middle school girls. Is it? I have never been a guy, so I can only guess.

There are no shortcuts; you can’t fast forward from elementary to college like one kid wished today.

Maybe the way through it starts with a pair of jeans and listening in the car.