Friday, April 12, 2013

Thoughts on a Friday

Lately I've been thinking a lot about women; not simply women in relation to men, but women as women with agency, uniqueness and life. The gender studies department at my (very liberal) tiny college would be proud..

I watched an incredible movie the other day that sparked this new obsession, called Adoption, and filmed in Hungary. It centers on one forty-three year old worker's desire for a child: a beautiful outpouring of our human capacity for love and nurturing affection. I was touched and inspired by her strength, her perseverance  her ability to always maintain her composure and never shy away from her own deep desires. Yet the counterbalance of this woman's sophisticated character is Anna, a seventeen year old foster child who is difficult, moody, and obviously hurt...she is abandoned.  In my own freakish dreams about motherhood, I can't help but to blur the lines between infants and adolescents. In other words, I think about children only as babies and not as beings who grow up and become independent. Disclaimer: I know I'm much too young to be thinking about this, but if you think about it, the first time most girls play with the idea of motherhood is in their own childhoods. I was driving home this afternoon and saw a mother, holding a toddler, holding a baby doll. Three generations in one fell swoop. I half expected the doll to have a smaller doll to hold. 

I remember having a great talk with my mom, quite recently, about all the wonderful things she did to ensure healthy, smart, active babies, while pregnant and while we were young. Things like home births, homeopathy, Waldorf-style education, blueberry picking, et cetera et cetera. :) I'm very grateful for that! Truly, I think my parents did a top notch job of developing my little self. I just think somewhere along the line things went askew. I think LIFE happened, and they weren't prepared for it because there's only so much you can read and prep for before you throw yourself into the water and pray to God you can swim. 

How much can you ever prepare for life? Isn't that part of the adventure? Is it selfish to throw caution to the wind? Or is it liberating? 

I think both. But slowly growing, I am beginning to see the value in responsibility. Granted, I have virtually NO responsibilities right now, so it's very easy to say that, but even things as simple as making sure I get home in enough time to sleep and eat so that I don't CRASH and feel miserable for the next five days is a very underrated yet very important accomplishment! It's easy to overlook that; especially when you're in a foreign country, or you are having fun with someone and don't want to come down. But we all eventually do and have to practice landing with even footing. 

I'm still working on that.

I found this quote on a wonderful blog that I follow (from the book Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore--not the Irish one--apparently there are two poets named Moore):

If we were to observe the soul in the family by honoring its stories and by not running away from its shadow, then we might not feel so inescapably determined by family influences…. 

Honoring its stories...what a grand idea! Every family is a microcosm of joy and pain and indelibly unique experiences, so how can we not celebrate them? Even the memories we hate are part of us. Just like bruises and scars, we wear them on our hearts, in our eyes, on the tips of our fingers, on the breaths from our noses and lips. We wear our families, for better and for worse. I suppose escapism then can only take a person so far, because we cannot ever escape our own skins!!

We assume we are ineluctably who we are because of the family in which we grew up. What if we thought of the family less as the determining influence by which we are formed and more the raw material from which we can make a life.

Raw material. Eyes, nose mouth, lips, tongue, teeth, throat, heart, guts, lungs, body and bones and brain and speech and ears to hear and eyes to see and hands to hold. Hands to hold. Babies to make, books to carry, bread to bake. Shall the clay pot deny the hands that fashioned it and say "you did not make me?"

How can we fashion ourselves without first molding to the warm touch of the Potter who made us?


Two extraordinary women. (From St. Silouhan's Chapel at the Toronto Mission in Canada)

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