Gran's Apple Butter Blog

March 2, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: Open Eyes (4/VII)

Filed under: Birth Home,Book Series,Books,Family,Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran,Grandma,Home — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 10:38 am

Chapter 4 ~ Open Eyes
from Going Home, by Mary Batson

One thing about it, once we start looking at home base with our eyes open, things are never quite the same. Not in a bad way, though. Open eyes are a good thing, even if sometimes they let us see things we’ve been trying to ignore for a long time.

Gran said no matter what we see, it’s wise to take a good long look at the place and time and people we chose to be born to. In the best of all worlds, our families give us life. They nurture and protect us, physically, emotionally, and intellectually, helping us grow and learn. Our parents do the best they can for wherever they are in their own lives, but sometimes when we look back, we realize home was not as supportive and nurturing as we might have hoped.

As grown-ups, we can rewrite the stories that fill us with so much pain. We can look back with love, no matter the situation. This may seem difficult, nearly impossible, but it’s something we can choose to do for our own growth. Sometimes we take this step for our families, and sometimes we do it for our own survival, knowing that any anger or pain or resentment we harbor in our hearts does us even more harm than the pain we endured in childhood, however great it may have been. When we protect this pain inside, Gran said, it will only grow bigger and bigger until it consumes our soul.

Gran’s childhood held its share of these memories. Some things she’d tried to ignore for a long time, to save relationships, not wanting to let her anger take control, when it seemed that was all she had left inside for those she felt had hurt her in her most vulnerable times. She’d finally gotten past all that, she said, because she knew it would only hold her back. It wasn’t easy, but Gran said it helped to imagine these people as they were when they were small children, when they were experiencing the good and bad in their own lives, the light and darkness that would shape them into the adults they later became.

When she would picture her family’s faces at age five or eight or ten, Gran said she couldn’t feel anger at them anymore. Looking in their eyes, she could only feel love and sorrow for whatever they had gone through, and compassion for the wounded child they still carried within. She tried to remember this whenever she’d encounter one of these people later in life, still carrying those festering wounds. A tirade of angry, judgmental words might burst from their lips, but Gran could only hear the voice of the child underneath, crying “It’s not fair!” one more time.

Life isn’t always fair, Gran knew that better than anyone. But she also knew that sometimes, we aren’t in a good position to recognize what is fair and what isn’t. It isn’t fair that we can’t eat the whole bag of licorice, or stick that screwdriver in this light socket, or tell the kid on the bus that his eyes really will stick that way. Life can be cruel that way, ruining our fun, raining on our parade.

Yet, from a higher perspective, the One who says no, who takes away the bag, makes us apologize when we’re finally ready and really mean it, or simply takes the screwdriver away in spite of our screams, that One knows that in the long run, maybe even in the short, we’ll be better for it.

~~~

Either way, Gran said the most important thing to remember about home base is that it belongs to the past. It belongs to who we used to be. If our memories are free and light and good, wonderful! We can celebrate them together, and release them with joy, just as we do with all parts of our past in order to be healthy and move forward. Even holding on to good memories can throw us off balance.

If our memories are heavy, we don’t have to carry them anymore. If judgments were harsh, we no longer have to accept them. We don’t have to beat ourselves up for who we are, for who we were, for expectations we met or those we didn’t. We can stand courageous and strong now, in our own power, centered in all that we have learned about ourselves, in who we have become.

As one wise woman put it, “All you have to know is who you are.”[i] And there we begin.


[i] Oprah Winfrey, Howard University Commencement Speech, 12 May 2007

NEXT WEEK – starting Chapter 5!

—–
© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
NOW AVAILABLE: Going Home, The E-Book & Going Home: The Tour LIVE – 2 CD set – Mikey and Gran’s story put to music! www.frontporchrambles.com/store

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