well of wisdom

Here I sit, not even a week after writing those words, feeling utterly bereft. Sometimes it feels as if I’m stuck in a life not my own. Time marches on, nothing changes. The log jam up here on the surface backing up, like light-blocking shades pulled down tight. I cannot break free.

On Sunday, I received a homily, which played with the metaphors of both fire and water. I wonder today, as I write this, how one doesn’t consume the other.

I hear the geese overhead, returning…

The priest spoke of fires needing to be tended, so that the light within shines brightly, doesn’t fade to a pile of embers, (though I suppose it would take but a gust of strong wind to rouse them into a roaring blaze….’the roaring within her’, the subtitle of a book I expect to be arriving in the mail someday very soon). I think of the name of the lane, upon which I have been dreaming a home of my own, Phoenix Lane…. Rising up from the embers.

Resurrection.

The priest spoke of baptismal waters, of going under, the feeling of drowning, of dying, of death, before being lifted to find the heavens suddenly opened, revealing the light,  bestowing the blessing, ‘this is my daughter in whom I am well pleased’’

Diving deep and surfacing.

Therein lies the difficulty, I feel as if each time I emerge to experience that flash of knowing who I am, of full-bodied breathing in deeply of life, the next moment something comes along a pushes my head back under the water, like a bully who won’t let me catch my breath.

Waiting to exhale. Completely, fully.

Waiting to sigh.

Pulling a card with a friend, I am told to go to the well of wisdom, to be still and listen for that small voice. Here is an image of water in which I am not drowning. Unless, of course, the drowning one is the one I am called to draw up.

Perhaps my identification then is with the wrong me. She needs me to be the one standing at the edge, the priestess pulling her up from the waters, giving her breath. She needs me now, more than ever, to center myself in this wise woman, this mature adult self, and throw down a rope for her to grasp on to.

This same card-pulling friend gave me an image of breath on that same afternoon hike to the pinnacle, where we sat receiving the blessing. Breathless on the climb, she’d given me the image of lowering a bucket down deep into my belly to draw up the air.

Breathing deeply to draw up this one who is gasping for air.

When I identify too much with the flailing one, the gasping one, the fear of drowning one, I cannot save myself at all. When I get into the water with her, her fear pulls me under and I am trapped with her in her despair, in her overwhelmed, in her powerlessness, in her defeatedness.

I am not a strong swimmer. If I get into those waters with her, we both will drown, but if I pull myself to the shore, drawing my breath up deeply from that well, perhaps I can see an opening in the tangled debris that has her caught, perhaps I can toss her the bucket to hold onto at least, while we figure a way through.

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M.C. Reardon

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