Wednesday, May 27, 2009


See that little girl? That's me in 1944 or 1945, depending on how old you think I am in the picture (I'm thinking 1945, but I have a hard time deciding if I'm two or three). The Packard in the background might be good for a clue, but I suspect we'd had it for a while. That's my mother, frowning as she's fixing up some problem, while I geek the camera. Daddy was taking the picture, I'm sure.

I have always considered myself to be blessed. I was a happy child, and since Mama is not obviously pregnant, my sister Norma Jean must be somewhere in this picture. Unless I'm two, and Mama is newly expecting (we are 2 years 9 months apart in age).

This picture awakens all kinds of emotions in me. I just read a post about loneliness, and I realized that yes, I've experienced that feeling, but look at that little girl. She sure didn't know what it was then. She's loved, cherished, cared for, and grew up to be... me, 64 years later.

Now I feel compassion for her, and for all the innocents in the world, who don't know what is coming. None of us knows, of course, but when I think of the myriad life situations I've experienced, and who I am today, well, am I a composite of all that has happened to me and of my genetic makeup? If so, who am I now?

I am still a cheeky broad. I notice that my eyes smile in the same way, 64 years later (all crinkly). Now I have droopy eyelids, but when I was two, it was because I was happy and believed that the universe revolved around me.

Today, my heart aches for all the pain and suffering in the world. When I was little, I didn't know such things happened as what occurred today in Pakistan, with literally hundred of people killed and injured by someone angry enough to blow themselves up in the middle of a crowd. How does one have compassion for that? I am hurting today, not because I am physically hurt, but because my heart and soul long for peace and joy for all people in the world, and we are continuing to suffer and die. And kill each other for reasons that I cannot comprehend. But then again, I am privileged and the world directly surrounding me is relatively peaceful.

Now, I know very well this has been going on in the world for as long as there have been people. But I don't have to like it, and I am sending out a prayer that somehow I find compassion and understanding. Monks sitting in caves in deep meditation, having renounced the world, might be able to understand... but maybe this psychic pain is what drove them into that cave. There is nowhere for me to hide and lose myself.

I am asking you, my dear friends, to add your prayer to mine. If enough of us can open our hearts and minds, is it possible to make even the tiniest difference? I hope so. But here is an Emily Dickinson poem, written in 1862, that succinctly sums up my mood.
It was not Death, for I stood up,
And all the Dead, lie down -
It was not Night, for all the Bells
Put out their Tongues, for Noon.

It was not Frost, for on my Flesh
I felt Siroccos - crawl -
Nor Fire - for just my Marble feet
Could keep a Chancel, cool -

And yet, it tasted like them all,
The Figures I have seen
Set orderly, for Burial,
Reminded me, of mine -

As if my life where shaven,
and fitted to a frame,
And could not breathe without a key,
And 'twas like Midnight, some -

When everything that ticked - has stopped -
and Space stares all around -
Or Grisly frosts - first Autumn morns,
Repeal the Beating Ground -

But, most, like Chaos - Stopless - cool -
Without a Chance, or Spar -
Or even a Report of Land -
To justify - Despair.
Having experienced childhood, youth, motherhood, loss, middle age, and now moving into old age, I feel myself moving toward a place that is just now beginning to coalesce out of the ether. It still doesn't have a name, or a strong reality, but nevertheless, I feel that I am moving toward a new understanding of compassion.


  1. A lovely post, full of optimism and acceptance. That is, I believe, something we should achieve as we get older. You have achieved it and I compliment you for it. Your lovely, smiley face is a joy to see this morning :)

    Blessings, Star

  2. You packed a lot into one post, sister. It'll take a few more readings to fully digest it, but there must be something Jungian we share in the different stages of life, because your post triggered many of the same feelings in me.


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