Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reminder of frailty

When you are old and your bones are frail, a rainstorm can become the enemy.  The pavement becomes slick, like an ice skating rink.  There are no skates, though, only the chance to fall, and falling is the last thing you want to do if your bones are vulnerable. Falling can be the beginning of the end.

Saturday my mother was that frail woman. She disappeared inside her black coat, trying to get warm, feeling the cold despite the layers. Her knuckles gripped the shopping cart until they were white with effort, and the fear of falling eclipsed her characteristic joy. When I looked over my shoulder,
I saw a stranger.  A stranger and yet she was my mother.

What about this was so unsettling for me?  Is it still a surprise to me that my mother is eighty-three and not the younger mother who raised me?  Do I expect her to tromp across a parking lot with no concern for oncoming traffic or the slickness of the road?  No, it is something deeper than that, something more personal.

I found a window into my thoughts this morning at Lynn's blog.  Reflecting on the idea of being a "feather on the breath of God" she says, 
Surely it's in our nature to want to presume in our existence some measure of personal gravitas-- something akin to that mysterious austerity of presence which the Hudson River School artists sought to capture in the word sublimity.  We want our lives, our legacies, to have weight.  Wouldn't we all rather be likened unto a foothill in God's mountains, or an anchor in His ocean... even just an arrow in His quiver?
and
If we are weightless as feathers, it is because Christ bears our weight... It's not about feathers at all.  It's about how we apprehend the wind. 

God is breathing.
(you can read the whole post here.)

Somehow being gripped by Mom's frailty has translated into a reminder of my own.   But that is not a bad thing.  I am frail, but I have the breath of God.  I can fly. 


On Saturday we made it through the rain and fell into the car, happy to have the heater vents to warm our hands, grateful to be dry.  Now the rainstorm has ended, the parking lots have dried out, and the Thanksgiving weekend traffic has cleared.  But that vision of my dear, frail mother remains.  Once again, my mother is my teacher, and I love her for it.  And thank you, Lynn, for being the connecting piece that I needed to put my anxiety to rest.
Underneath all the texts, all the sacred psalms and canticles, these watery varieties of sounds and silences, terrifying, mysterious, whirling and sometimes gestating and gentle must somehow be felt in the pulse, ebb, and flow of the music that sings in me. My new song must float like a feather on the breath of God. 
~Hildegard of Bingen~

4 comments:

elizabeth said...

yes. I have had moments like this as well, where I have realized the fragility of another. Yet...we are in the hands of God. He is so gentle that he will not break a bruised reed or snuff out a smoldering wick.

Blessings on this December for you and family.

A Circle of Quiet said...

And to you and yours, Elizabeth.

Diane

Lynn Bruce said...

He knoweth our frames; He remembereth that we are but dust.

Thank goodness.

Blessings to you-- and thank you for the kind words.

Lynn

mom said...

I remember that moment when I realized how frail my mom was....it was so sobering at the time and I fought back tears as my heart longed for mom to be the person she was to me for so many years. Funny how you wish even those moments back when they are no longer.....

Thanks for sharing, Di.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~