Friday, October 16, 2015

How To Hold

I remember scraping my hands as a child. I remember stubbing my toe and sticky red blood attracting dirt during my limp-steps up to the house to find her. I remember the heat of skinned flesh burning my palms, the horror of insides showing out. But most of all, I remember knowing where to go.

The house was always cooler in the summer despite being old and having no central air, and it was dark and quiet in contrast to the overbearing brilliance of a June day. My tshirt stuck to my sweaty kid back and my hair half fallen out of the pony tail that licked the back of my neck. Sometimes I'd wait to cry until I knew someone would hear. Sometimes I'd shout her name right away. Sometimes I'd wait til I found her before letting those fat tears fly, making riverbeds in the summertime grime of my childhood face.

In those days, Mom's lap was comfort. Her hands seem to know just how I liked to be petted and fussed over and never seemed to weary until I was ready to get up and get back into it. She'd find a band-aid and I'd whine over the washcloth cleaning my wound, but it still didn't sting too badly when she was the one fixing me up.

One thing we never grow out of is that longing for comfort.

I find it in the gentle sliding of cloud soft yarn through my fingers, a pattern quickly memorized and executed with lightning quick precision. My fingers are a machine and the right-and-left brain mutual work calms me. Comfort.

I find it in the drooly grin of a five month old baby, laughs bubbling right out while I tickle her tummy and kiss that space under her chin that brings peals of joy out from deep down inside. 

I find it in a hot shower, a quiet moment, a timely lyric, a sunbeam. I find it in her arms threading around my waist and his little boy buzzed head heavy on my shoulder.

I find it when I power down the computer, set down the iphone, sink my hands into some dough and make something. I find it still when I step in the door of my Mom's house and cuddle with her on the couch.

I find it in the putting away of the day, a final tidying up and the gentle release of handing over all my fears, anxiety, strife, heartache and needs - to my heavenly father and being flooded with that assurance that all will be well. 

Sometimes, in my own life, with my own kids - I wonder if I missed out on the nurturing gene. What seemed to come so naturally to my own Mom seems hard for me to find. Empathy doesn't seem to be my first reaction. I redirect myself, I choose something better - but I always have to push myself down first.

I wonder at that now - if she was the same way, I never knew it. Maybe this is how generational faithfulness works. Maybe this is how we learn how to Hold. Setting our human, self centered stuff aside and making that choice. Maybe that's what inspires us to keep this thing up - maybe this is what spurs us on to a better way of loving each other.

Intention holds the key to comfort. We all know what speaks love and empathy to ourselves - but when we take the time to be what another needs - we can create a gentle web of support that extends beyond ourselves and our relationships.

Spiraling on and on.

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