Last night after I heard about the tragedy in Connecticut, I wanted to gather Shaman Boy up and squeeze him hard. Oh, the preciousness of this tenuous life.
His auntie/godmother Rose texted me, “Give our boy an extra mush for me tonight please.”
Mushers are Rose’s way of showing her love. She smothers him in kisses all over his face – which he both loves and hates. Like when you are being tickled and you are delighted with the attention and laughter but also slightly angered by being out of control.
I told Shaman Boy I was going to give him mushers from Rose. He ran and hid, giggling. When I finally caught him, he protested wildly. I swooped in. He scrunched up his face and told me to stop. I kept kissing.
“If you don’t stop, I’m going to pinch you.”
And he did.
In that moment, the tears started streaming down my face. All the sadness over Connecticut came out. All the gratitude for the love and aliveness in my life. And yes, tears because I was mad and hurt that Shaman Boy hurt me.
In a flash, I saw how I hadn’t respected his wishes. I didn’t listen to him during our “game” and he got my attention the only way he knew how.
Wow. My way of expressing my love came out unintentionally distorted. I love you so much, I’ll dominate you to show it. I remembered how many times my mother has expressed her love through worry or judgment and how much effort it takes to see the love in there.
I watched all my reactions. I wanted to tell Shaman Boy off, to lash out at him, tell him to go away.
And then I realized how many families no longer had the option to give mushers, to get mad at each other, to have another chance to try again.
Despite my hurt, I decided to love anyway.
Loving anyway was an act of courage. I had to open my heart up to myself. Forgive myself for not hearing Shaman Boy. I had to let go of my anger at how he responded.
I made a choice to bring myself back into love. To love beyond the hurt.
After a few breaths and a few more tears, I apologized to Shaman Boy for not hearing him. And I told him that I didn’t like that he hurt me. Then we snuggled in for Friday Family Movie Night.
To all the families in Connecticut,
I am sorry. I am sorry that we live in a world where we hurt each other – intentionally or on purpose. That some of us haven’t been loved enough or haven’t been able to feel the love around us so we lash out at innocent children.
I am so sorry that your hearts are breaking. Mine is too.
All I have to offer you is my love. You may not want it right now – or perhaps you are grateful for the love that’s been pouring in from around the world. It’s a crazy world when it takes tragedy for us to express our love for one another.
My humble practice is to live in this world of hurts and love anyway. To keep my heart open when it gets trampled on in big and small ways. This is not my first inclination. I’d rather run, or tell the world to f@# off, or to go numb. But I refuse to let fear or hate win. I know love is the answer. Love is the way.
I’m dedicating this practice to each of you. While there are no words, no consolation, no nothing that can make your experience any less raw and ragged, perhaps it’s a small solace to know that your child is not forgotten. Your child is inspiring me to love more, love harder, love anyway.
What about you? Will you join me in loving anyway?