Dear Fellow Travelers,
This week, we have the 2nd New Moon this month and from what I’ve read, this is a good opportunity to revisit the void. It’s also considered to be a great time for feeling gratitude for all the things that are working well in your life. And to that end, I’d like to share this:
In my next to last year of teaching, I opened my classroom door one May day to find three sad, but hopeful faces, two human and the other canine. It seems that the canine had been found wandering by one of the humans and had been brought to me in hopes that I would be ready to give her a home. The vet reported he had no idea of her breed, but felt fairly certain she was just about 4 months old. When January arrived, I contemplated which date to select as her “official” birthday. Since my cousin Jean had passed toward the end of the previous year, I decided that her birthday, January 27th, would be perfect for my little Honey. Jean had an endless affection for animals and she would have loved this puppy.
Today, as I was out walking, I was thinking about Jean and why she was so special to me. She was not a blood relative; we didn’t grow up together. She married into the family when I was a little girl. I still remember the day my cousin Jimmy brought her to our house for the first time. They were recently engaged and I was amazed that this new adult visitor wanted to give me as much attention as anyone else in the room. She sat on the couch and read a beautiful Disney version of Alice in Wonderland to me. I was mesmerized. Over the next few years, I didn’t see her often, but the bits of time I spent with her were like little jewels along the path of my life.
A few years later, my world turned upside down. My family moved several times back and forth between states and in and out of different houses. During this time, my mother became ill and had an extended hospital stay so my father moved us in with his older sister’s family. My aunt and uncle were Jean’s in laws so I saw her weekly at this time. My father worked extra hours to pay hospital bills and my older brother grabbed any opportunity he could to escape from the house. This left me pretty isolated.
There were many intriguing things about living in a large two story house at the top of a hill and walking through the woods every day on the way to school. My widowed grandfather also lived there and that was a wonderful reconnection for me since he had lived with us years before. However, it was not really a child friendly environment. You may be familiar with the expression, “Children should be seen and not heard.” In my aunt’s house it was actually best if you could manage not to be seen at all, at least not the “you” that was inconvenient to have around. This is where Jean’s grace saved me. She saw me, I mean really saw me, like the wonderfully, soulful way of seeing another in the movie AVATAR. Do you remember? She saw me the way Love sees someone, perfect, whole and complete. She gave a lost little girl something precious to hold onto when the world held neither beauty nor hope.
Now, before you run to the nearest Dickens novel for relief, let me say, my wounds have healed and this story is not about me anyway. I’ve shared my experience so that we can all consider how significant we are to each other. You see, I don’t think Jean was necessarily aware of how important she was to me at that time. Jean was just being Jean; however, her innate kindness and love became an anchor for a drifting soul. This is what we all must realize and remain present to. We are here to love, heal and SEE the people with whom we share our path. Never doubt that you most probably have been or will be that person for someone, whether you ever know it or not. My challenge to you today is to look around in your life and ask yourself this question: Whom do I see and who sees me? The answer may just hold some real power for your life.
I had forgotten over the years what a gift Jean’s presence was in my life so long ago. I’m sorry that her time with us here is over, but very grateful for the piece of her life she shared with me. So now, each year, as we celebrate my little Honey’s birthday, I will honor Jean’s memory in a way I know she would approve, given her love of animals.
And in case anyone is wondering, I still have that copy of Alice in Wonderland.
I see the moon and the moon sees me
God bless the moon and God bless me
Please let the light that shines on me
Shine on the one I love