I found two wishes stuck in my rosemary plant yesterday. Wishes or cottonwood seeds depending on who identifies the floaty wisps caught in the window box garden.
Upon one I placed my love for my children and friends and family – for peace and joy and great love found and nurtured.
On the other, I selfishly asked for the same for me – for peace and joy and great love found and nurtured.
And then I blew the wishes into the Kansas wind which tumbled northward and toward places beyond my sight.
At my age should I waste breath on “fairy wishes” and cottonwood seeds? Probably not. But to me they were not wasted breaths, but innocent hopefulness expressed…maybe even prayers.
The lunchtime wind is fierce as I write this. My long hair whips around my head and a patio chair has just taken flight. But I need to be outside right now. And the wind may just be strong enough to keep those wishes aloft and blow them where they need to be.
The sun keeps me warm. Me and a yellow swallowtail bravely fluttering by and over the prairie grasses to my right. As annoying as the walloping wind can be, it reminds me of the seasonal nature of being, time passing, new beginnings, and unintended do-overs.
When do we say enough? When is it finally right to give up on the most steadfast of hopes and dreams – so attainable for many and so outrageously aspirational for the few of us with empty hands?
Until this morning as I read the news of more death, more imbecility and bravado, more hunger and thirst, I was bitter. Bitter that the cruelties of a self-serving wannabee socialite would create such poison in my understanding of life…so many blind spots to foul and equally self-serving others. That so many of us – worldwide – would need to remake ourselves from so young of age and of so many pieces.
But this morning, today, I realized that bitterness – however a mere sliver – had only caused me more pain. My best bet was something new — foolishly forgiving what cannot be mended or restored. Forgive the five characters of my history (again?) who willfully acted as predators or invited predators into my person. That’s it. Nonsectarian forgiveness.
In the face of such violence, I needed to rend violence from my own heart – even justifiable anger that had devolved into tiny nettles of bitterness. In one newspaper’s front page, we have too many reasons why this bitterness must be jettisoned as completely and as early as possible.
Bitter winds blow us off course and into whirlwinds no one wishes to reap. I have more cause to trust and believe in the cottonwood wishes I sent aloft than in my own curated bitterness ever reaping anything good – not just another devastating whirlwind.
Vegas. Puerto Rico. Marseille.
I only had one response left and I yielded to it wearied of soul hope. Forgiveness was my last gasp of air before going under.
No magical joy-buzz. No prince charming. No answers other than, “Oh. That’s how it feels.”
My response to the news today? Compassion and forgiveness. A hope to make America kind again and the memory of something T.S. Eliot penned so long ago:
“I didn’t have hope, or not have hope, but I had laid down my weapons. Be still my soul, and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing.”