This simple phrase has been near and dear to me for as long as I can remember. It’s what my dad always said to me in the midst of turmoil and my confusion about things that were happening around me. I had an interesting childhood, most of the time being lovingly held in the protective world of my family, allowed and encouraged to explore and dream and play to my heart’s content. But every so often, and increasingly, there was a nuclear bomb of dysfunction that would obliterate that carefree feeling.
After a while, after a number of traumas, care “free” became care “full” pretty much constantly. And I became pegged the “worry wart”. I had good reason to be. But instead of addressing the elephant in the room, the reason why I was constantly worried, the focus was put on me and why I couldn’t just pretend that everything was OK. I was criticized for my well-founded fears about others’ behaviors that I couldn’t control, that hurt me and attacked me and others without warning. My dad, bless him, while trying to control the uncontrollable dysfunction and craziness, was the only person who “saw” me and understood why I was so full of dread and anxiety. This was way before our society recognized and spoke about depression and addiction, and so the language was not there to explain and acknowledge. All he could do was hug me and look me in the eye and tell me “it’s going to be OK”.
And he was right.
The power of my dad’s conviction, the strength of his secure holding, these meant everything to me. It gave me hope and resolve. It pushed me forward. It was his greatest gift to me. After all these decades, even the memory of these words from him bring me peace. Such a little phrase. So simple. But these 5 words are the most reassuring thing I can hear. Even now, in the midst of my own family’s challenges with dysfunction, having my husband hold me and whisper these words in my ear, makes me totally relax and I believe it. Because in the end, it will be, some way somehow that we may not be able to picture. There is always hope and there is always change.
I just spent a week with an incredible circle of women (http://matrilumina.squarespace.com/), all of whom are yearning to — and doing — something real and meaningful, something good to shift the world, particularly the world of women. Some big huge things, like Melody Ross’ work with Full Circle Exchange (http://www.fullcircleexchange.com/) and their ongoing efforts to help rescue and heal girls held in sex slavery (read about it here: http://bravegirlsclub.com/archives/16771). And other important things, like helping the elderly spend their last days with dignity, helping troubled teens, creating spiritual retreats for women all over the country, sharing their passions for art and poetry in order to help other women heal and find peace, creating spaces for gathering and honoring the female soul…..real efforts to change the world, to shift it. We can all do something, even in the midst of busy, overstressed lives….and if you think “I can’t possibly” or “I’m not clever enough” or “I’m not important enough”, then please enjoy this story my friend Janet (awesome mamacita) shared:
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,
“Well, I made a difference to that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved. – adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley
So this sign/collage I made is very near and dear to my heart, and spending a lot of time on making it (layers of paint, distressed, LOTS of time finding and gluing buttons and charms) was a meditation for me. I think that’s why I love making handmade “art” signs so much, the time spent making really gets me thinking deeply about the meanings of the words and phrases. Because this one is so special to me, I am going to donate it to the Dahlia House fundraiser, and match whatever amount of money it brings in. It’s 9″x9″ and can be hung or set on a shelf or table. I believe there’s going to be an auction, I’m not sure about the details yet, but stay tuned here for updates if you’d like to bid on this. If there is no auction, then I’ll sell it here, but I don’t get much traffic here……yet!Next week marks the 35th year of my dad’s passing. And while the sadness never ends, the unconditional love and hope that he gave to me never ends either. If I can do anything at all for my kids, I hope that is it.
PLEASE PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT HERE!!! I WANT TO HEAR YOUR TAKE ON THIS — LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION! Here’s some questions to get you started: What words reassure you? What word gifts did your parents give you, that you carry with you to this day? What do you tell your own kids and others who look to you for comfort? What are the most powerful words you know?