A wise man said that G'd is present when children play.
I most recently worked in a daycare. The kids finally accepted me and felt relaxed in my presence. Relaxed enough to play with me. My heart swelled. Their innocence touched me. They were full of imagination. One girl dressed up as a baker and fed me cookies. One took over the telephone and held conversations with me. Two gave me doll babies to care for. It was so much fun. No teaching. No molding them into well behaved, obedient children. Just children being themselves, trusting me, and playing with me.
I think what this wise man said is true. The freedom I saw in these kids was joyful. That happiness and joy has to be part of what truly being alive is about. What G'd is about!
I celebrate the seasons. Spring and all the new plants lightens my spirit. Maybe some would call me some kind of non-believer, a pantheist. I am not that big on labels. I do love holiday celebrations! Passover has been one of my favorite holidays. It ignited my love of freedom; that defined my life!
One of the only lessons I remember from the rabbi was on freedom, freedom to and freedom from. My lists have grown over the years. Yet, reaching for freedom continues to fuel the choices I make.
Easter has not been one of my favorite holidays. When we first moved to our house, it was my first Christmas. I was amazed. As a five year old, I was brave enough to run around in the neighborhood and meet the neighbors. Christmas was love to me then, until everything turned around by Easter. It was then I found out that I killed Christ and was not so welcome in these homes anymore. I've overcome that experience, and have come to appreciate Jesus and his message of Peace and Love.
I don't really celebrate holidays. Instead, I get up everyday with prayers of gratitude, tell the sky, the neighborhood cats, the singing birds, the environment, my neighborhood, how much I am happy to be alive and to share this life with all around me. I walk through my apartment and send loving vibrations to the rooms, the plants and my two indoor cats. I am happy to be alive. This daily happiness is my celebration, my worship.
My first big argument I had with my Dad was about security. I said there was no such thing. I understand him better now and why he made the decisions he made for me. He took his responsibility as a father very seriously and, of course, wanted to prepare myself and my sister for a life that would allow us to prosper. A profession was the way. In my case, it was to become a teacher.
I wanted to be an artist.I knew this from the age of five! Horror of horrors! I am an artist, and writer, and it has been delightful to be recognized. I've published articles and poems and been awarded for my art. I was first recognized when I lived in Japan and exhibited with a master Sumie painter in a national museum show. Art is more a part of life in Japan, and artists are well respected and appreciated. I didn't have the same satisfaction here in the States until almost 30 years later. And in Florida!
Back to the idea of security. People used to have a professional job and stay in it forever. Today, if someone wants to advance in their career, a two year stint is the usual before moving on. People didn't get divorced. Now, no fault divorce is available. Women wore dresses. Capri pants were considered risque. Dinner was served at 6. Home cooking was the norm. There didn't used to be so many fast food joints.
I have no idea where my thoughts came from. Maybe children come into the world with these thoughts. I have no idea how I had the courage to blurt these things out to my Dad. A bohemian life, with no regular income and a high chance of failure was not on the agenda. A wise man said that it is better to be a poor artist/musician/writer and be happy you have followed your dream, rather than be an unhappy person doing something you didn't want to do. Poverty is no joke, but ... being unhappy for the sake of security is worse.
The full moon of March is when my Dad had passed; it is the day I chose for a family memorial. Both my mom and sister were in care facilities and I don't know the exact times of their passing. So, I celebrate them all together.
It's an emotional time. Their lives pass through my mind screen like a 3d movie. Only bits and pieces. Scenes. Conversations. I lit 3 candles, one for each of them on my altar. Said a few prayers and kind words.
People always post how they miss their parents, or brothers or sisters. I don't. I don't feel guilty about that either. I feel compassion for them, that they didn't fulfill their human potential, and that they did not live happy lives.
The first time I ran away I was around ten. I had never heard of children running away and I didn't know anyone that did. I started out in a horrible huff over some meanness by my mother. She was going through a hysterectomy and suffering an identity crisis. I just ran away and got as far as the next town over. I had no money. I had no plan, and no idea what I was doing. It started to get dark. I went back.
Unlike in the tv movies where parents are all loving and huggy huggy when their child returns, my Dad bounced me off the four walls of my room.
I loved my family, of course. But, this was not a loving family. When my parents divorced, we were one of the few families in the community that did such a thing. Catholics married for life. Jews didn't divorce either. And regular people had to resort to all kinds of things to get divorced. Sleezey Private Eyes were popular. Arsenic was still available for purchase. Putting women in nut houses was often a solution. In our small community, we were just outcasts. Families did not welcome me or my sister. All the synagogue activities were suspended.
Years of unhappiness filled the gap between the divorce and their deaths. I miss them sometimes. I sometimes wish I had been a more loving sister. I don't miss all the ongoing dramas, though. especially the regular ones for holidays. I have peace. I love it. So, I light their memorial candles, say some loving words, and pray they are all in a good place.