Archive for October 2010

What if…   Leave a comment

Is it Divine Intervention? Or is it Fate? Are events, small and large, pre-determined, or do they just happen as they happen?
Are there, truly, “no coincidences” (homage to Signs, one of my all-time favorite movies)?

 Having chronic insomnia, I read a lot. Probably more than 8 hours a day. A person can get a lot of reading and thinking done in the quiet wee hours of the night and early morning. In the reading of fiction, I tend towards historical and well-researched novels. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer is one such book.

Set in Hungary and France in the late 1930s amidst the unrest that would become World War II, it is the story of three brothers from a Jewish family whose lives are “ravaged by war”. Well researched, as well as gleaned from the history of her own family, the author chronicles “one family’s struggle against the forces that threaten to annihilate it”. Immediately following the epilogue is a poem: Any Case. The poem addresses the question, not only of why and how 6 million Jews were murdered during Hitler’s regime, but why, and perhaps how,  those who survived did survive.

We have all asked those questions, the “what if…”s? What if the sun had been shining that day, resulting in a walking or driving route that allowed for the meeting of “the one”? What if the child who was abducted and murdered had not argued with her friends and gone ahead, alone, on the path home from school? What if the passenger in the vehicle had sat in his usual place? Was it a miracle he wasn’t killed in the accident? You know: the butterfly effect. The “I could’ve …..but, luckily…..now…”. But, who, or what, controls whether or not the butterfly flaps her wings? Is it luck? Fate? Karma? God? Or do things just happen randomly to change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, lives, cultures, civilizations? Are we in control of our own destinies? Will a prayer at a specific moment change not only one person’s life, but the lives of hundreds, thousands, millions? Or is what happens just what happens?

I have often questioned the presence of forces in my life that have led me to where I am today. I experience some very profound regrets, as I am sure many people do. One of the reasons I am blogging is to try to understand and accept what I cannot, in retrospect, change (guilt)—putting it out there—VOICING– to the Universe in a creative attempt (suggested by my therapist) to explain and, hopefully, put an end to recurrent nightmares related to that guilt. I think about those regrets. I am confused by them. If I hadn’t married the person I married in my youth, my children wouldn’t have been the people they are today. Would I have ever met my husband had I not been in an unhappy marriage that would end at the exact time my wonderful mate was ready for a committed relationship? What if I had been happily married, or even divorced sooner? My husband is quite a bit younger than I am; in fact, he could (if I had gotten pregnant at 14) be the age of a son. Yet, we both feel we are fated to be together. That we HAVE been together on previous life-paths. Even our dreams during unhappy moments in our separate lives coordinate (needless to say, when we discovered this, it was chilling). So, the entire time I was miserable, and desperately praying that, somehow, God (my old concept of “God”) would intervene in my unhappy marriage, my future soul mate was growing up. These are just samplings of the guilt I deal with on a day to day basis, guilt which haunts me with regularity in the form of heart-pounding, sleep disturbing nightmares. The guilt that probably contributes to not wanting, somehow, to sleep. Because, it is then that my sub-conscious takes over. I can control my waking mind with logic. I cannot control my sub-conscious.

There are those who assert that, in a dangerous or life-threatening situation, they “felt” something. Some even report “seeing” something otherworldly. Not all of the reporters are believers, not all of them are religious, or even spiritual. But, what they have in common, from that point on, is that their lives changed. And, if their lives have changed, then—because of the butterfly effect—so has the world been changed. But, why them? At that particular time, that particular hour, that particular moment. Yes, it makes for great sci-fi, great fiction. But, it is not fiction. It happens. The difference is, we can’t go back and change anything. That can only be done in fiction. So, what is it? Is it God? Or is it Fate? What if…? With large scale events, or with tiny, seemingly minuscule events, “what if…”.

 

Any Case is written by 1996 Nobel Prize winner Wislawa Saymborska. (1923-Present), and translated from the Polish by Grazyna Dtabic and Sharon Olds. I will share it with you now:
 

Any Case
It could have happened.
It had to happen.
It happened earlier. Later.
Closer. Farther away.
It happened, but not to you.

You survived because you were first.
You survived because you were last.
Because alone. Because the others.
Because on the left. Because on the right.
Because it was raining. Because it was sunny.
Because a shadow fell.

Luckily there was a forest.
Luckily there were no trees.
Luckily a rail, a hook, a beam, a brake,
A frame, a turn, an inch, a second.
Luckily a straw was floating on the water.

Thanks to, thus, in spite of, and yet.
What would have happened if a hand, a leg,
One step, a hair away?

So you are here? Straight from that moment still suspended?
The net’s mesh was tight, but you? Through the mesh?
I can’t stop wondering at it, can’t be silent enough.
Listen,
How quickly your heart is beating in me.

Into the Light   Leave a comment

This is my first attempt at blogging.  Actually, I’ve attempted it more than once, so perhaps it is more accurate to say that this is the first actual blogging attempt I plan to keep up.  A problem I have—once I decide to write–is that I find my thoughts and ideas blocked.  If I am responding to a thought just off-hand, those thoughts flow freely onto the printed page.  I hope to release the silence I experience during disciplined reflection through blogging, while learning–once again– to write on demand, without the wall of silence stopping the flow.  This wall–probably built for protection–has effectively kept me silenced for many years, learned behavior from growing up in an evangelical apocalyptic messianic religious tradition.  Many of the postings will reflect on the damage caused by this as-yet unnamed cult, and hopefully explain and dissipate the nightmares I still have from years of silent acquiescence to their teachings, as well as the control I always allowed others to have over my life—religious or otherwise.

As a point of introduction:  My name, you know, if WordPress has it right on my blog page. I am happily married to a wonderful man, my soul mate, whom I found after more than 40 years of searching.  A scientist, much of what we discuss will inevitably find its way to a posting.  I have three incredible children, who—despite my haphazard attempts at childrearing—have turned out to be marvelous adults.  The blog of one is on my blogroll.  I would encourage you to check it out.  James is a PhD student (soon to be candidate) in  History of Biblical Interpretation.  My two youngest, twins, live far away, but are forever near in my thoughts and prayers.  David is an engineer.  His twin sister, Tricia, is an esthetician with her own business.  Now in their 30s, they are all surviving in an increasingly difficult world quite admirably.  Thoughts about them will undoubtedly find their way into my musings.

The name of the blog is reflective of the therapy I am currently undergoing.  We all know the story of Persephone, her forced descent into the underworld, Demeter’s frantic search, and–finally–the decision of the gods to allow her to come into the light for a prescribed amount of time each year, only to return to her husband and the darkness of hell for the season we call winter.  She becomes Queen of the Underworld, and reflects the triple goddess theme:  Maiden/Mother/Crone.  Reading the books, Goddesses in Older Women, as well as Goddesses in Everywoman, both by Jean Shinoda Bolen, Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and The Goddess Within by Jennifer and Roger Woolger, I felt a stirring, an anguish, a recognition of self, in those pages that I had not found before—even though I had read a couple of them earlier in my life, I was not yet ready for their lessons.  This time, I was. The Buddhist proverb, “When the student is ready, the master appears”  is so very true (there have been other books, but these in particular hit a button).  I felt a resonance with Persephone, as well as with the duckling turned swan of the old folk tale, The Ugly Duckling, which Estes explores along with other myths that illustrate the periods of life, the shadows, the emergences, the being, of Woman.  Darkness and shadow have followed me for years, resulting in relationships with people who silenced my voice.  Not that all those with whom I have associated have had this characteristic, but enough have so that I began to recognize a pattern.  Finally, after separating myself from these people and—thank you, Universe– finding my soul mate, I somehow realized I was on a healing path.  But, healing takes time.  And effort.   And patience.  My therapist, a wonderful woman, recommended a creative outlet to explore those inner feelings, those things which may be still causing, not only the nightmares, but the inability to let myself go with my instincts, to fully appreciate the beauty of my marriage, to take control of my life.  And how, perhaps, being a Persephone, of the effects, emotionally and physically, that could just possibly be a contributory factor for the illness that has, in so many ways, disrupted my life.

So, this attempt is my creative effort.  I hope something resonates with you, the potential reader, as I release my inner voice.  I will post of different paths, of different hurts; on religion and the damages that can result from early imprinting; of being a woman; on illness; about children and marriage; on events that are occurring in our increasingly volatile world.  On fear and happiness.  On sorrow and rejoicing.  I hope you will join me in my journey to the Springtime as I attempt to bring my inner Persephone towards the light.