Sunday Morning ~ Leaving
Ukacoka usamatseka mwala, koma kutseka mayani. ~ When leaving do not block the exit with stones, but with leaves.
~ Chewa proverb
August 18, 2019
I’m sitting at the lake while Amelia plays around me. In and out of the water, never very deep, she’s careful. She’s made some friends and they are looking for frogs. I asked her where the friends come from as I heard them speaking a different language. She told me Connecticut, then asked, “Wait, what language do they speak in Connecticut?”
The lifeguards have a hard job I think. It’s hard to pay that kind of attention to all the human activity buzzing around. I’m not a water person nor a strong swimmer. I’m grateful for lifeguards but don’t trust completely that they will notice every mishap or threatening situation. When my kids were little all I did at the beach was count. One-two-three-fourrrrr…five! Ok, all heads were above water. Then I’d start again. This past week I only had to count to two, but still did, over and over. All accounted for. Everyone safe. I always place our blanket near the lifeguard stand. I look back occasionally to make sure he or she is paying attention and I’m always a little surprised that they are. I think lifeguarding is a noble job. Guarding life. Let people have their fun: romp, splash, run, dive, all the while knowing that someone is there if you need them. Wouldn’t it be just so nice if they weren’t only at the beach?
The kids see me as their personal lifeguard. They expect me to protect them. This was obviously true when my own kids were small but I didn’t look at life from their perspective back then. I do now. How I always want to keep them safe. How I wish I could protect them, even as adults. I know this is not an original desire.
It’s terribly hard to know your child struggles, suffers, and hurts themselves and I know I share that angst with other mothers. It’s a constant for me that I go over what I did wrong and how a different reaction from me would have changed the course of their lives. A silly futile exercise that only upsets me more and I look for Rumi quotes and images of the Virgin Mary for comfort. I watch my little innocent granddaughter playing without a care and wish she could be this sprite forever.
I sat through Amy’s funeral this week and prayed for her mom. This could be me, I thought. I watched her mother, full of grace, with complete composure, and wondered how I would ever walk into the church, never mind greet people with a soft smile and gentle hug and genuine gratitude. Grace is the only way I can describe it.
So I’m conscious of leaving leaves behind and not stones. Who knows what kind of suffering is unspoken behind us and there may yet be a soft wind that blows the leaves away.
Love to all,