Beautiful Goodbyes

I had a dream.

It was the year 2015, and I was in a room, a room I had never been in before.  There were other people, they were drinking, doing drugs.  They were intoxicated.  And there among all these people I saw him.  Broken.  Not doing well.  I talked him into leaving with me, but as I was walking, holding him up, I realized how confused he was.  The situation seemed desperate, so serious.  He was not well.

I started telling him that God loved him, something like that.  I was pleading.  He was so out of it.

The next thing that I remember is that we were at the top of the street that I grew up on.  The street that we had walked so many times.  The snow was falling lightly, and I knew that he was leaving.  I knew I wouldn’t see him again.

As he was walking away, I noticed that he had left his guitar case behind.  I shouted for him to come back.  I shouted that he would need his guitar for where he was going.  I think I gave it to him.  He never said anything.  He was so unwell, and there was such a resignation, like he had already left.

 

The Silver Man

I almost hit a man this summer.  Almost hit him on his motorcycle.  He looked tall, long, lean.  He was a silver man.  I could have hurt him, maybe worse…and I’m not even sure what happened.  He was nowhere, and then he was right there, beside the driver side of my van.  I still don’t know what compelled me to stop, but I must have suddenly noticed him in my blind spot.  Thank God.

He turned towards me, my hand was on my chest.  I kept mouthing that I am so sorry, but I couldn’t see his face.  A silver helmet turned toward me for several surreal seconds.  I imagined his rage, and I felt the danger.  I could have hurt him, who cares who was at fault.  Our lives almost intersected in the most unfortunate of ways.  How would I have gone on?  It would have been too much to bear.

And finally, he just rode off.  As if nothing had happened.  This was his call.  He chose to move on, to put behind, to forgive?  Was there something to forgive?  I was safe, or at least spared from his anger.  Was he angry?  It’s a strange thing when you can’t read a face, when you can’t see the eyes.  What did he feel as he rode off?  Was it relief, sadness, fear?  I’ll never know, but I felt shame, and awe…at the frailty of life.  I wondered who the silver man might be.  Our lives could have changed in that moment.

God, protect the silver man.  Thank you for protecting me.

Song to my Grandmother

Here I sit reminded of you

How could it be I didn’t spend this life with you?

Had to love you from a distance

Never was any good at it.

Tears I shed thinking of you

Fears I had I wouldn’t see you again.

See your face, feel your warm touch

You are missed so much.

You deserved the best of all things

All respect the biggest diamond rings.

Sacrificed all that you knew

I want to say how much I miss you.

Things have changed now that you are gone

Life will never be the same as before.

When you left, you took a piece of my heart

Why do we have to be apart?

I know you’re up in heaven now

Praying for us, always looking down.

Through your life I learned how to love

Thankful for you to my God above.

 

Up-rooted

What does it feel like when you finally stop?  When you stop running and start growing?  The concept of roots, rootedness, has been very much on my mind lately.

It’s a new sensation, this rootedness, or rather, what I imagine to be rootedness.

This of course immediately makes me think of new immigrants, and the up-rootedness they must feel.  A new country, city, place…I was a new immigrant once.

Up-rootedness might not be a strong enough word–I can think of others, but perhaps the best approach in trying to describe this state would be a list.  This list would in no way be comprehensive, but it would try to reflect, at least somewhat, some of the experience.

Here are a few choice synonyms for the verb, uproot, or better the infinitive form of the verb, to uproot:  annihilate, blot out, displace, do away with, eliminate, eradicate, exile, exterminate, move, wipe out.  One dictionary definition of uproot, is to destroy, or, to rip out of place.  They must strictly be talking about plants, but when you are suddenly uprooted (and I believe it is always sudden, because no matter how much you think you have prepared for this up-rooting, it is still in the end always just that, an up-rooting) there can be risks.

Risks to your health.

You are vulnerable to attacks…attacks however subtle on your identity, your integrity. And unless you find a ‘place ‘ that is available, welcoming, supportive, compatible, you run the risk of remaining up-rooted.

It has been 28 years since I have been up-rooted, but I have stopped running, I have found a place and my roots are growing.  It takes time and place to grow deep roots.