Why is it that shame drives us further and further away from what we need, instead of calling us to repent? It is shame that sends me lurking into the shadows - not the most menacing of shadow, albeit - when writer's block or sadness or pure joy or just plain old life gets in the way of working through my thoughts here with this proverbial ink and page.
I guess I'll shrug that off and take you to this evening, when I threw a ginormous adult sized temper tantrum over the state of my house, which was justifiably dumpster-like and potentially unsanitary in places. I ranted at my kids about the bowls hidden behind chairs or under a blanket surreptitiously lying on the living room rug (carpeted in land mines the likes of gummy worms, Sour Patch Kids, popcorn, dirty socks and old cereal spoons. Honest to Pete.) I pleaded with them that my health was actually suffering, that theirs was as well, that I can't shoulder the burden of the rotten banana peel cemented to my counter with cooked on over-boiled coffee - at least not alone. I wept rather openly (although I tried to choke it back a bit) as I scrubbed mildew from a oatmeal bowl and tossed Clementine after Clementine down the garbage disposal to cure the stink. Then I threatened to retreat to my room. Not exactly...I stated the fact that I would need a grown-up sized time-out for my grown-up sized tantrum and that said time-out would take place in the confines of my room, door locked, and no replies to incessant requests for Mama in any shaper or form unless I could verify that there was, indeed, an emergency - meaning an emergency by nurse definition: blood, limb hanging by a thread, or you just really need a good cuddle because you are falling apart, really falling apart and you really need me.
My eldest handed me a school paper as I retreated to my room, nearly stuttering in horror at the depths to which my housekeeping zeal had disappeared. Her paper was topped with a decidedly unpoetic heading, "The UWEC Nursing Building". I notice she offsets her name, date, etc. on the right side instead of the left. A personal seal. A small "stick it to the Man" á la Breakfast Club. I begin reading...and devour the page, in a single gulp without hardly coming up for mental punctuation pauses, no air, just diving the length of this page of such love and such purity and beauty, I know in a moment why I named her "Katrina" ("pure one"). She describes the details in expanded, imaginative and flourished details seen from a child's perspective. She opens right up and spills her dreams, in all their vivid and glorious beauty, in all their charm and originality, right there on the page in stark and everyday font. Just 26 letters, yet their illusive and expansive possibilities, their ability to save a life or lift one up from the depths or express the deepest of human emotions? My daughter lassoed the loosed words and corralled only the most beautiful and rare for a piece she wrote candidly. She showed us her way of seeing the world, the bias toward a particular beauty her eye and brain possess. In that moment, she chose me, wildly, utterly lovingly and perhaps irrationally.
I feel it heal, this achey old wound, and it's you touching it, child-nurse, you who healed me as you split me in two - literally one of my hearts still beating inside, one teetering perilously close to the sidewalk's edge...the bus route...the Future Leaders club. If ever you do catch fear in my eyes as you press onward, my love, know for sure it is this you see, not what you might imagine: it is that watching you leapfrog the chasms, no matter how ordinary, reminds me what potential loss I have faced down before and of the exact distinct value and beauty of this day here, with all it's troubles.