Friday, July 03, 2009

A kinder, gentler wrecking

Don’t you love it when the right book shows up just when you need it? After ordering a book I’d suggested, Vicki sent me a suggestion for another book, and it couldn’t have shown up at a better time. I think the writer crawled into my brain, studied my random thoughts for awhile, and, like a doctor, prescribed just the right medication for what’s ailing me.

I’ve underlined so many things already, and I’m only on page 57. This one, for example, could have been pulled almost verbatim from my recent blog posts: “Some have felt eager and engaged by their work for years and then walked into their office one fine morning to find their enthusiasm gone, their energies spent, their imaginations engaged in secret ways, elsewhere.” Hmmm… secret ways? Yup, I got ‘em.

On the bus yesterday, I underlined this quote: “For most of us, an inner parental voice continually keeps the world at bay. It says, ‘Life is precarious; you young cannot know how precarious. Don’t add to the sum total of difficulty that awaits you: Stay off the moors; Stay off the ocean, stay away from the edge, don’t follow the intensity of your more passionate dreams, find safe work, and adventure not into your own nature lest it lead you directly into nature itself. Adventure only on the weekends of life and not in the working week.’”

I nearly choked on that quote. It stirred so many things for me, a lot of them related to the reason I chose “fearlessness” as my word for the year. How many times have I chosen what’s safe? How many times have I failed to “adventure into my own nature”?

The other thing it stirred in me was the concern that I have become that parental voice for my children. More than anything, I want them to be authentic, bold, and passionately in search of their own calling and nature. But sometimes, let's face it, a mother’s first concern is that they be safe. How do we balance those desires for our children without messing them up in the process?

When I went grocery shopping last night, I took my “Wreck this Journal” along, thinking I’d do something silly with it. Instead though, with these book-induced thoughts spinning through my mind, I took a detour to my son’s grave and did some wrecking of a kinder, gentler variety.

If you can't see the video yet, it might not be fully loaded. I'm posting before it's ready - don't have time to wait.


Jennifer Lee said...

Wow, Heather, that was absolutely beautiful. I've got tears running down my face as I type this. What a touching heartfelt tribute to your son Matthew. Thank you for sharing!

Magpie Girl said...

"More than anything, I want them to be authentic, bold, and passionately in search of their own calling and nature. But sometimes, let's face it, a mother’s first concern is that they be safe. How do we balance those desires for our children without messing them up in the process?"

Oh Heather, this is my everyday struggle right now with my beloved 19yo-adopted-by-affection and his 17yo girlfriend. He and I talk a lot about trust, worry, risk, and adventure. He thinks any worry or concern communicates distrust of him. I counter that I am concerned about outside forces, not about his own sturdy internal compass. It's a challenge. Thank you for this thoughtful and touching post. I feel less afraid.

Jean said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Fearlessness is a great word for the year.

Kelley said...

The tears are falling as I write this..such a loving and beautiful video. I just lost my Mom last week so I am still very raw. But I do know that no matter what the love always lives on..that is eternal and even death can not touch it. Such a great tribute to Matthew. thank you for sharing such a loving and beautiful moment remembering your son..God bless..

Anonymous said...

That is a beautiful tribute. I can't believe how similar your blog post is to what I have been reading today in a book called Callings which I've just excerpted from on my blog.

Connie said...

This is the most beautiful wrecking I ever will see. Thank you for sharing such a tender moment with us. It's hard for me to type this through my tears..but my heart is with you and your journey into complete fearlessness.

Peace & Love.

LMA said...

"The words don't always come easily," you say in your profile. Indeed they don't; if only my words flowed as easily as my tears! The letter you wrote Matthew spoke the truth of everyone called "Mom," I think. Mine are tweens and I constantly worry whether I'm loving and nurturing them to their highest good.

But, this isn't about me. It's about you. I think "fearless" is a perfect word choice for you. This post shows both great love and immense courage. Thanks for sharing. -- Linnea aka cafemercury

Melita said...

very moving!

joyce said...


Liz said...

Heather, that was a beautiful video. As to keeping kids safe, I totally agree with you that we need to teach them to be safe and then let them fly. As you know, I have a 20 year old and she just got her first apartment at school where she will be living year-round starting later this month.

I have every confidence that she won't take unnecessary chances and that she will know how to keep herself safe.

Now I can direct all my energies on her younger sister, making sure she realizes that yes, she has a lot of freedom, but she still has boundaries that I've set for her own good.

All we can do is teach them and then set them free with the confidence that they have listened.

Stephanie said...

I haven't been good about commenting, but I've loved reading your journal wrecking process. Your tribute to Matthew and the other children is so beautiful. There is power in words, and there is power in pictures. This captures both those powers in an amazing way.