Had To Cry Today
It’s already written that today will be one to remember … ~ Steve Winwood
I had to cry today. In fact, I used to cry all the time. Honestly, it got to the point that I wondered if I would ever cease weeping. Looking back, I view my life as a jumble of confusion – I did not know myself well at all, and less did I accept that I might hold any place of significance whatsoever in the world. This was of some importance to me when young and remains so unto this day: a feeling that merely marking time – simply taking up space on the planet – is a waste of life.
I am determined to offer something of value to the living, and it matters not if it is received by a single person or many. Whether dog or bird; man, woman or child – it’s the quality of the gift that counts. An intention and willingness to leave the campsite cleaner than I found it etches itself upon a guidepost instilled in me as a small child from my scoutmaster father. It takes nothing away to offer a smile or a moment of heartfelt sharing with another. In fact what is offered thus freely returns to me in manifold proportion, each and every day I draw breath. It simply consumes a bit of time to discover that inner fount, though it’s always longing to be expressed. I’m convinced it’s part of our essential nature.
As a child living in an urban environment likely too stimulating for her sensitivities, I proved too ebullient, too enthusiastic; in a word, too eager. These attributes were off-putting to boys I found interesting, and adults simply didn’t know what to make of an energetic, intelligent child who gazed deeply into their souls; who spoke freely and called them by their first names. Then again a few did take the time to satiate my abundant curiosity – answered my questions and sparked a dialogue, nose to nose. Remember too that this was a time when women were only beginning to come into their own – the nineteen fifties and sixties. No wonder I cried almost daily, wondering what was wrong that God made me so peculiarly.
Meanwhile decades passed before discovering a strong foothold in this life. And despite years of various therapies which I am sure were useful in their own way, the most powerful force of healing has been an immersion in nature. This included countless sunrises and stargazes but also encompassed giving birth to children – that primal, visceral experience which sealed my kinship to all mammals, from the tiny mouse to the great whale. I cannot say how many hours or days, months or years of observation it required to willingly assume my place in the scheme of things. I didn’t realize how out of touch I was with what is now essential to my wellness and functionality as a sentient human being until, bit by bit – like a seed bursting through its fragile skin to unfurl before heaven – I rose up steadily on two solid legs as if for the first time somewhere in my forties.
Now much as small children do, I marvel daily at the minutiae of existence as exemplified by all living creatures – the drive and determination of beetles and ants, squirrels and voles, marten and fox, herons and loons. Each seemingly independent and insignificant event has worked its way into my psyche bit by bit, granting me peace and gratitude for existence, itself. Perhaps the deepest wisdom lies in viewing adult experience through the guileless eyes of the innocent.
Indeed, while lying prone upon an acupuncturist’s table under geometric patterns of sensitively placed needles, I had to cry today. And it might momentarily have been a cry of mourning for another brother recently lost to self destruction. But when I wound into the feeling, spun it into the centrifuge at the core of my being right down to my toes, I discovered a wellspring of happiness – a joy in living that precipitated tears of gratitude that I am finally able to appreciate the tenuous threads that weave me into the fabric of life. My colors blend well into that tapestry, and I am content.