Gran's Apple Butter Blog

September 6, 2010

2/VII Cycles

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 12:06 pm

Chapter 2 – Cycles
Excerpt from Going Home, by Mary Batson

All in all, Gran’s preferred focus was the Here and Now. She had a lot of theories about life and how to live it, why we’re here and where we’re going. Gran saw life as a Big Adventure. That was her starting point. Next, as near as she could figure, was the universal need to Go Home.

We all share this need, deceiving only ourselves when we say we need no home, no roots, no connections. We say those words a little too loudly, and then we keep talking so we can’t hear their echo in the emptiness inside that we’ve done our best to ignore, to cover up with something, anything, whatever would keep us moving, keep us fed and watered and thinking that we have everything we want, keep us busy enough we can ignore the realization that even if we have everything we want, we may have nothing that we truly need.

In reality, we spend our lives searching for Home, trying to find our Great Truth in one reflection after another, no matter who we are or where we come from.

An important part of Gran’s Big Adventure theory was the idea of cycles. Gran didn’t think our final Going Home – what she called Passing Away – was a one-time thing. Rather, she thought it was just one part of a bigger design, part of a Master Plan, and that each phase of this project was cyclical. Like planets circling in their orbits, she suspected that we repeat our journeys until we learn everything we need to know about Home and how to find it. 

Gran said it was a little like the way we gravitate toward our hometowns as we get older, moving closer and closer until we’re right back in our old neighborhood. It’s not a coincidence, Gran said – it’s just a reflection.

Once you got the idea of cycles down, the next part was common sense. You see, Gran said then you could then look at your entire existence like a play, with all kinds of acts and scenes, or a book with chapters and sub-sections, or even a CD, with twelve tracks all wrapped up in one package, each with a beginning and an end. (She was pretty proud of herself for knowing about CDs.)

If each life was just one piece of the whole, a training ground of new chapters and new faces, hellos and goodbyes, Gran said then it stood to reason that each go ‘round would build on each other, like a stack of Lincoln Logs. This pattern would then be repeated in each life (yes, Gran could find a pattern in everything).

For example, she thought that our first thirty years were pretty much a dress rehearsal; at least that’s how it had seemed in her life. You try on your costume, rip out at least one significant seam and say your lines backwards before the real show can begin. She’d say this, then start humming one of her favorite music pictures: “If you want to do it right, sometimes you have to do it wrong the first time…” Gran thought that applied to just about everything from tying shoelaces and making gravy to raising babies and just plain breathin’.

Maybe that’s why she liked the story of the prodigal son, ‘cause he did everything wrong the first time. She said it wasn’t easy to be that bull-headed, although her own life had helped her learn patience with those who were just starting all the lessons she’d already learned. Actually, Gran said she felt a little sorry for people who tried to skip their own lessons, taking the seemingly safe road of doing what they were told, because someday they’d find themselves back at that same crossroads, and she knew from experience how frustrating that felt.

She said it was like the difference between knowing with your mind and knowing with your heart. But regardless of what anyone else was doing, Gran had learned she needed to keep her eyes focused on her own work and her hands to herself, just like in first grade. In so doing, she’d found that some of her biggest lessons were to learn patience and non-judgment and unconditional love. Perhaps more importantly, she’d had to learn how to truly forgive people who had hurt her or those she loved as they learned their own lessons, and how to forgive herself when she let those people hurt her yet again.

One thing about it, she said, we never stop learning as long as we’re alive. Well, Gran, you’d be happy to know that I’ve learned an awful lot with my heart, sometimes using it like a bat and other times like a catcher’s mitt. All that learning came with a bunch of scars for just one short act in one off-Broadway play, but boy, those lessons are down in there pretty deep now.

The longer I live, the more I think Gran was right about this. How poetic: A life of home-comings – coming home to the Love, to the Light, to everything that defines home to each of us, and realizing that that’s what we’ve been doing all along. Seems like there’s a song in there somewhere, doesn’t it?

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
Download Chapter 1 or order your copy at!


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