Love is a dark night where sons bring you dandelions wet from spring’s showers, smiling warmth, hugs, “Oh please finish that drawing Mom! Use my pencils…” and a daughter graces you with her wisdom, her revolutionary perspective on life. The contrasting jewels of liquid shimmer in a decades-long night of growth, change and pain. Their brilliance echoes the pricelessness of these gems, of love’s offerings. And they roll on and on through the dawn of light, flowing up and out from depths of earth’s most fertile mines.
And they find you in a rain that just won’t stop.
I made a call to a local college earlier this week and was faced with the opportunity to handle everything over the phone. It just wasn’t working for me. So I interrupted, interjected eagerly: “I need a face. I really have to see someone and just talk. I’m 41 and trying to get back into college to finish up a degree and it would help me to talk with someone in person.” I rounded a corner this year and any further tolerance of other needs clamoring their call to put my hopes on the backburner simply ran completely out, gone. And good gone. But I was vacillating on what to do with the fatter dreams. Just what was sensible, anyway?
So, today in the rain I walked into my appointment with zero trepidation, surrounded by shining young faces and voices speaking fresh from their first passage into adulthood. I wondered how long it would take them to learn the preciousness of the soul, the dark nights that birth us all into brighter awareness of our value, degreed or not.
And. I wondered how obvious I was, if there was a big sign on me screaming “Not quite divorced, totally broke, old woman finally finding the time to get on with her education. Deeply aware, battle-weary dame recovering from major life changes.”
Nobody seemed to notice me. I liked it. Maybe I will lose my scar fixation. And some scars.
Sitting down with the counselor I discovered a few things. It’s wonderful to have guidance from a 30 year old woman who is shocked to hear your age and knows what it feels like to feel the pressure to “get there yesterday.” “What?! You don’t look…” “Oh…” Really, I’ve been sure the look of youth is gone. That’s how tiring the past year has been. Something in our exchange slowed her down, she looked at me with new eyes. And she had an arsenal of defense against my near capitulation to convenience, rationale and need. See, I had been sure I should chuck the dream of the bachelor’s degree (and more) and just get sensible. Almost 42 here. Hello, give it up. Go for the associates in applied science and spend the rest of my life gooping bellies and sending sound waves through the epicenter of the earth. Standing still for hours in the dark. The reasoning: money, convenient timeline, 3 children with plenty of need. She looked at me and said “I have an aunt who just turned 52. She just finished law school and she’s doing great. Don’t give up.”
As it turns out, the dark nights birth days of appreciation for the simplest things. Like finding someone at the end of a long road who looks at you and says “May I be blunt?” Please! Yes! Go woman! Go! I like blunt when I’m on the edge of a choice.
Go for the Master’s degree.
Invest in what you want and don’t look back. It will all work out. The thing about dark nights and decades of them is their tendency to seep into the bones, a sense of futility, of loss so surreal that nothing can waken old dreams. But one person speaking bluntly out of the blue can make the biggest difference. She was tired, on the edge of her own dark night and the potency of her voice hit home.
So, I get dandelions, wisdom and exhortation in the rain. Many days, most days I feel like I’ve won the lottery of soulful wealth ‘though my curtains are still about to literally come apart at the seams, even when the emerging shoots of growth in my soul insist for more room, more channels for more fruit. There is still that feast in the night and right there at day’s breaking light. And I could be very sensible about the future, allow the needs of others to outweigh and outcry my own, to cut them short. But…why? Would I want this for my kids at 42? What do I risk if my choice is driven by a fear of risking too much or if I’m intent mainly on minimizing risk, hedging all my bets? And my best.
Without risk, we all die. No convenience there . . .