Thursday, November 19, 2009

Deep change

It has been an interesting past six months - one in which I could have never have predicted happening. It really evokes a humility that I did not have in my youth when it was so important to know everything, to plan everything, to control my life and destiny.

It started with arranging a brief meeting with my first adolescent love this summer.

I don't think we intended to break up, but were forced to at the end of a head-long thrust into that magic elixir called love. We met at a music camp in Greensboro, NC in the summer of 1976. He was a brown city boy and I was tan farm girl. At the end of camp, we went home and could not hold together a long-distance love against difficult odds. Apparently, my Christian family could not make the completion of their faith journey from advocating for interracial healing to include their daughter's new boyfriend. I was so hurt and angry over the loss of this friendship.

Fastforward to 2009. We are meeting at a concert by the stage.

My old boyfriend had been faithful to his musical gifts. He was the person I had dreamed I wanted to be: creative, playful, beautiful, and a world traveler.

Seeing him spun me. He was a youthful as ever and I looked like a "pastoral counselor." I know he probably meant it as a compliment, but I felt dull, boring and sexless. What did I expect?

I had pursued an education I thought I had to have to be complete - leading to a great deal of professional frustration. Plus, I was ever the devoted mother and wife in the family - home births, long-term nursing, a mix of private, public and homeschool education for my kids over the years, working around my kids' needs to support their growth and our family values, attending to the family. They are adults now and I am a grandmother.

Yes, what did I want out of this exchange? I wanted healing. I wanted a chance to set the record straight. But it seemed that I wanted closure on one hand, and on the other hand, I wanted to see if we had anything in common, a spark - perhaps friendship, a muse. Both of us were getting ready to turn 48 years old in a few months. What did he see in me when I was a teenager? What had I lost over the years that I wanted to find? Who had we become? He didn't make me feel dull, I did that to myself. What happened?

The time together included hugs and rushed attempts to tell each other about our life's story in 5 minutes or less. It ended in several failed attempts to listen to each other. Our pain was exposed. And yet, I was so grateful to touch this person who has a place deep in my psyche. He was real and not a figment of my imagination.

The journey since our meeting has cracked my tightly-held identity. Jung's mid-life work has begun in earnest. I have railed at God asking what the lessons of my life are about. Where is the joy? Where is the energy? What if I never find that again? I am afraid, a rare acknowledgement of my vulnerability.

In the midst of this seachange, I am held up by relationships. I view my experience of the Divine through people and nature. What I can say is: I am grateful for the patience and love from people who travel with me on my spiritual journey. My husband has exhibited tremendous faith in me. My spiritual-nurturer friends have generously opened their hearts to me. I thank my meditation group for the gentle, open love and acceptance I receive. My writing companions help me clarify my thoughts. The birds still sing and the moon glows.

I find myself saying that whatever I have been doing for a very long time, I can no longer sustain. The skin of the past is shedding and I am itchy all over.