Love Another Man To See The Face Of God

Hello friends. Missed you yesterday. We are on our way home from the anniversary weekend plus a few other significant dates wrapped in there.

The Marriott hotel we stayed at was sold out so getting two adjoining rooms (who wants to get arrested for child abandonment on their anniversary?) took extra maneuvering by Marriott’s good staff along with my husband’s gentle ways. We landed in an upgraded suite the size of a small country for the same previous price. I’ve never been in something like that and we all felt like superstars.
(This is sounding newsy.)

Anywho, the next day we joined my brother and his family at a matinée showing of Les Miserables at the Ahmanson Theater – we’ve planned this for a year. There we were; a few adults and a long string of children all polished and shiny. We had bought feathered masquerade masks to play it up and were dressed to the nines. The house was sold out.

We had prepared ourselves with the soundtrack, Victor Hugo‘s unabridged printed English translation (didn’t finish that yet this time around – hoping still), the 25th Anniversary recording at the The O2 and lots of chat. The kids were happy to go with their cousins and you can imagine that all should have gone well.
What to say.  Some things we must prepare for in other ways.

Sitting there, my son on my lap and just the slightest sound of tearing chocolate bar wrapper, and the head in front of us turned into a face with a mouth,

Be quiet!  

Some minutes later, my son was drinking from his water bottle,

For G–‘s sake!  Put that away!

There was more from our theater-head and after three otherwise beautiful hours, Les Miserables was over.  A lady a few chairs away from the theater-head whom I think was in his party said,

Next time choose to take them to a Disney Production, would you?  

Later in the car, my girls were wondering about the, “super mean people in front of us,” and I remembered the words still fresh in my thoughts,

To love another man is to see the face of God.

How to love?  By starting with loving me.  Who knows about those people?  I don’t.  I don’t know anything about them at all.  I can just work my junk over and grow my own bank.  Then I can love even people who are mean to my beautiful kids.  I can think about their possible frontal lobe dementia, disinhibition and medication non-compliance and empathize.  I can think about their torn families and children who’ve abandoned them and come home only on Christmas.  I can think about their missed opportunities to claim their freedom to self-care.  By starting with me, I can enter into their hurt and see that through their eyes, they see an angry unsafe world and they are suffering.  That is something of what Victor Hugo may have talked about.

When I was younger, a one o’clock Sunday matinée was when kids came but maybe not any more.  Ah well.  I saw the face of God.

Self-Care Tip – Love another man to see the face of God.

Scheduled Intimacy – Mother’s Day: The Good and The Not So Good

Afghan women celebrate mother's day at a guest...

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #256 – Think about the good and the not so good on scheduled memory-maker days like today.

Questions:  What do you think scheduled intimacy has to offer you?  How do you manage to allow the not so good to come together with the good in your life?  Please tell me your story.

Just like any scheduled memory-maker, Mother’s Day brings the good and not so good.  And for most of us, we have some of both, even if just a little.

Yesterday, in the company of my three healthy children, I couldn’t help but notice the lady I sat beside was sniffling.  “Should I say something?  Should I not say something?

…Almost six years ago, my nine year-old niece suddenly died.  One week later I delivered my second child.

I don’t remember most of my daughter’s first year of life except a couple random things.  My sister-in-law, sitting alone on a rock just staring.  I remember her clothes, the weather during that moment, the texture of the rock, but I don’t remember nursing my baby.  I think this was still in the first month when I saw my sister-in-law on the rock.

We buried my niece’s ashes under a Jacaranda tree and it took forever for that tree to bloom.  I watched its skeleton month after month thinking, “This is terrible!  It needs to bloom!”  Isn’t that ridiculous?  And I remember my brother, red-eyed.  The lines on his face cut in deep.  He said,

I’m so glad you’re having this baby Sana.  It’s just what we need.  You remind us, this baby is reminding us that we are still alive.

The good and the not so good.

Of course I sensed what my brother was saying, but I still had a moment of hypervigilance when my body seemed to say, “What?!”

There was a lot of insecurity and emotional confusion that year but I don’t remember much more.  I believe my daughter  breast-fed, learned to sleep through the night, transitioned to solid foods and took her first steps.  But I don’t remember.

Namibie, une femme Himba et son enfant

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, I turned to the lady and asked,

Are you sad?  Is there something you are sad about?

More water-works.

I used to have a son.  I had a son.  He died.

The good and the not so good.

Right on schedule.  Mother’s Day came.  We knew it was going to happen.  And yet our bodies crack open, poorly defended.  Little our calendars did for our emotional preparation.

The lady grabbed my hands in further intimacy than I anticipated.  She told me her name but I wasn’t listening.  I was thinking about my niece, her sometimes blooming tree, my children around me; so much.  I was thinking about the good and the not so good on scheduled memory-maker days like today.

There is a coming together of our parceled selves that have been scattered to the east and to the west by the winds.  There is a coming together that this Mothers-Day, Christmas, Valentine’s or my nieces birthday, have on us and the process itself is bruising.  It is an opportunity to gather what we will or won’t.  It is an opportunity to be present with our changing selves.  In the tears, in my daughter’s crooked rainbow pictures and backwards letters,

bear mommy, i love yu….

In the grip of a stranger’s hands, in the company of our own Mom’s, wherever we find ourselves on these blue-lettered calendar days is where we have this

Hope all you moms had fun today!

Image via Wikipedia

opportunity to do some of the sometimes hard work to grow presence.   Without it, we will continue to change.  That can’t be stopped.  But with it, with our choice-making, with accepting the gift of our folding up of the space between our past and our present, if we hadn’t cried again for our loss, if we hadn’t we might not have remembered what has made us and who we are.  Changed.  Covered by Love.  Connected.  Doing what a friend would do for Me.

Tonight my daughter sits on my lap.  We are watching a blue-ray recording of Les Miserables (musical) Twenty-Fifth Anniversary touring production at the London’s Barbican Centre.  I am listening to an excellent tale of the good and the not so good in life.

To God, our Mother, today was scheduled and I thank you.