Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Looking for Help

om tāre tuttāre ture svāhā (Praise to Tara)

Dear Chuck,

Last night Daddy looked at me and said, "You haven't blogged for Charlotte in awhile." The excuses flew off my tongue: "I've been too busy. I have too many other things to do. I've run out of inspiration, and I'm afraid of writing things like, 'Dear Charlotte, today you took a wagon ride and played with your hair.' I don't want her to read stupid things like that."

The last thought stuck with me, and it's still nagging at me. It's true; for the last few months, I have been feeling like I have nothing to offer you, no pearls of wisdom or witty insights that you would possibly want to read as an adult. As a result, my letters to you have been few and far between, full of forced one-sided conversations that don't do my thoughts justice.

Ah, my thoughts. My thoughts are like raindrops. In the quiet, they splash down in random patterns, slowly at first, and then they increase in number and speed until they pour down and my head is so full I can no longer distinguish one individual thought from another.

When I log into this blog to write you a letter, I find myself staring at the blank screen, picturing you as an adult. When I was a girl, I could only see my mother in one dimension; as a mother. I suppose that's how all children see their parents. In my view, there was no past for my mother; there was no future, no existence outside my own. She was, very simply, my mother. I understand more now. I see my mother as a complete person, and I find I am intrigued by the woman who wasn't my mother, but who was a person, struggling with the same paths and decisions that I struggle with. When I log into this blog, I imagine you as an adult, my age now, reading these letters. I wonder who you will be, what life you will be leading when you are 25. I wonder where I will be, and what I will be doing, and what will have happened to all of us. Most of all, I wonder how you will see me. Will you understand who I am as a person? Will the things I have done in my life intrigue you, or will you be ashamed of me? These questions circle in my head when I see the blank page in front of me, and the chicken in me emerges and closes the browser window, convinced I will never be able to show you the truth and wisdom you need to help you along your life's journey. I should have known the universe would show me the way.

As a joke a couple weeks ago, Dan and Warren brought me a treasure newly dug up from our latest OS&D shipment at work. It was a Buddhist magazine called Shambhala Sun. I put it in my purse, secretly delighted, and just today got around to reading it. The front of the magazine portrayed a beautiful golden statue, a woman ornately sculpted. The first thing that caught my eye when I turned the page was the editor's entry. The title at the top said simply, "Looking for Help".

The statue in the picture at the top of this blog is the female Buddha Tara. Tara is a symbol of wisdom, and Buddhists of all schools turn to her for guidance. The editor posits to us that, "...we have the wisdom, compassion, and intelligence to handle life. And not just handle it, but live joyously, lovingly, sacredly, wisely.....[Tara's] wisdom, compassion, and skill are always present in us, no matter how confused, angry....fearful, or stupid we may be at any moment."

The wisdom of Tara is right, Chuck. Right now, I am simply your mother. I hope to remain that for many years. But someday, in your eyes, I will also be more, and I want you to have the chance to experience that. It's true, I'm flawed, wonderfully so, but hopefully that makes me someone you can relate to better. And hopefully I can find a way to pass some of the wisdom I hope to acquire in this life to you. But it will never happen if I don't write.

So I write. And I hope the wisdom finds me. And maybe through me, you.

I love you forever, sweet baby.