I was recently given a gift that reminded me of my maternal grandfather, and so I’ve been thinking a lot about him. He is one of the few people who has come to me in a dream, and upon awakening I felt deep a sense of longing for his presence. He was (to me) a big, lovable, kind man. I felt safe with him. He was legendary (in the Adirondack north country) for his physical strength. He was quiet, but had a huge laugh… I can still hear that laugh when I think about him.
I know that these are my images of him; my memories. They are snapshots in time of a man who was, like us all, multi-faceted. I know that he was also very hard on his children and not easy to live with for my grandmother, but I didn’t experience this part of him, so my memories are softer.
He died in 1985. I think that one of the reasons that I feel such a sense of longing for his presence is because I wasn’t sober at that time in my life. What I remember most about the day of his funeral, is wanting to get away to go out to a bar. I got sober in 1986.
I would’ve liked to have had the experience of knowing him through sober, adult, eyes, but I didn’t, and even if I hadn’t been drinking, maybe I still wouldn’t really have been able to listen to him…we don’t need to be drinking or using drugs to be so wrapped up in our own little worlds of thought that we miss the true essence of each other…and ourselves.
Who are you….really? Who am I….really? Who are the people and animals that surround and interact with you and me? We are so much more than we could ever imagine, we are certainly more than someone’s snapshot of us. Or of our own snapshot of ourselves (many times this image is not very nice either). I am a woman who at 29 years old went to her grandfather’s funeral and went to a bar after. But I’m also so much more than that. I’m sure that I did some very nice things that day too. But I don’t remember them because I’ve only held one image of myself…and I haven’t let it go.
I believe it’s time to bless and release all of the old images of ourselves (and others) that hold those unhappy, sad, cruel, unforgiving, angry, resentful, remorseful scenes, and to finally allow them to transform us. For years I thought that I had to remember all of the negative (and retell it with precise detail) so I wouldn’t repeat it. Now I know that whatever I hold onto, just pulls more of the same to me, and blinds me to the goodness that was, and still is, all around (and inside) me….and you…and everything.
Today is a new day. A day for making new images…of ourselves and others.
“How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us“. From Rilke’s poem, Dragon Princess