Part One. December 7, 2018.
One thousand years ago, or was it yesterday; I was floundering after a rogue wave separated me from my family, bobbing like a cork in the chunky swells that abound in the Sea of Humanity. What’s that shining in the darkness? A ship sails toward me, glowing and reflecting on the sea all the colors of the rainbow. FriendShip is written in silvery neon brightness. Music, laughter and the sound of many voices meld, creating a language that my spirit understands.
A woman stands before me with each hand on the head of a beautiful dog. The dog to her left has a pristine white coat. Moonlight reflects off his fur and he’s smiling as wide as all the seas. His great doggy heart is so happy to be by the woman’s side. Her right hand rests on the head of a dog with a sleek black coat that absorbs the moonlight and any threats to the health of her companion. Lights flicker and surround them. The tiniest light is just above the woman’s head and shines brightest of all. I know these three have a lifetime and beyond of adventures together.
“Come join us, we sail the seas looking for adventures.” A Captain’s hat cocked at a jaunty angle adorns her head. This quirky Captain rescues me and we have a wireless connection. Mingling with my shipmates, I know I have found my people. We are all different, but the same. Their conversations are insightful, educational, amusing. Inspiration sparks in the atmosphere.
We drop anchor in deep water and Captain Q leads me to a canoe. She gives me two paddles and a map. “Go. Find yourself.” She winks at me and walks away with those beautiful dogs. I glance back once as I paddle away. Captain Q is swinging in a hammock, lost in contemplation.
I paddle for hours before a speck appears on the horizon. Is it land? It IsLand. I wade through the shallows and pull my canoe onto the sugar sand beach, its grains sparkling white and fine in the sunshine. I rest on the beach, embracing mother earth and thank sister sea. IsLand is a bustling place, but there is no ratrace here. Birds converse in chirps and tweets, building nests and going about their daily business of living. I think they might be discussing me, this creature with no wings washed up on their beach. Bees buzz, humming in huge blossoms that smell deliciously exotic and the island breeze dances in the fronds of palm trees heavily laden with bunches of dates so fat they make my mouth water.
I spy a path and follow it to the mouth of a cave. UrHere is engraved above the entrance. My woman cave is a beautiful space. The hearth in the center spreads warmth and shines light onto a Wall of Words. There! A Pool of Reflection ripples as a blue butterfly flutters its wings. I cross the pool and stand before the Inside Out Mirror, a mirror for all women who seek truth and lasting beauty; all the beautiful things that shine inside each of us regardless of what we look like on the outside. I feel right at home and I know that it is time for my restless and wounded spirit to retreat for a while.
X marks the spot on the map given to me by quirky Captain Q. I begin digging deep to find the buried treasure within my woman’s heart. Patience. Perseverance. Perspiration. Deciphering many messages written for me on the Wall of Words. Obstacles block me. Removing rocks and boulders is hard labor, but the alternative is to give up and never find my treasure. I move a mountain of dirt.
Sands pass through the hourglass as I pray beside the Pool of Reflection, preparing myself before I confront the truth of the Inside Out Mirror and practice the Art of Becoming.
In the private garden of my heart, I see both the beauty and the ugliness of my world; it’s time to choose what will thrive. The thoughts and feelings I nourish here will flourish, spilling over the walls onto the people around me. I name this serene space my Seeds of Faith and Patience Garden. I remove the root of bitterness smothering all the good growing here with the parasitic plant of unforgiveness. The first seeds I plant in my freshly tilled acreage are the seeds of forgiveness. These seeds spread like the seeds of a dandelion, dispersed by the wind, traveling far away from the soil where its roots are planted. I want to be like the dandelion; I want to disperse seeds of forgiveness around the world.
November 27,2016 the rogue wave hit my family, slapping us down with sudden viciousness, each of us grasping our own pieces of wreckage in the aftermath. What lies in a woman’s heart, knowing she must survive alone, not knowing when she will be reunited with her family again? In mine, there is a prayer because I can’t physically save them; clinging to any of them will drown us. They’re drifting away so quickly and none of them are fighting to stay close to me, so I let them go, with my prayers of protection reaching across the waves to find them. This is a solitary journey into the uninhabited and overgrown acreage of my woman’s heart. I am a matriarch on the eve of awakening the eternal wisdom within. I am a woman who will make waves defending my family, yet I am also a woman who will calm any storms that seek to destroy them.
Millions of women around the world are hit by rogue waves. What is heartache? Heartache is an equalizer, reaching high and low. It doesn’t matter if we’re rich or poor; we’re equally miserable when our heart aches. Women understand the universal language spoken from the heart and hearth. The sound of laughter is universally understood and so are the wails of sorrow when women grieve. Our body language speaks louder than words; subtle nuances and cues reveal so much. We smile, we frown, we glow. Some of us glower, burning with resentment, bitter and unforgiving. In sickness, in trauma, whether of the body or spirit, we become merely shadow women.
Daughter, wife, sister, mother grandmother, friend; we fight and strive for the health, happiness and preservation of our families.
This writing from the cave UrHere is to all women and the families they love. To my mother, happy days are here again. To my sister, my sidekick through life for seventeen years, in our travels around the globe, we always had each other and the secret language we shared. After your accident, I loved a sister who could not care for herself and I hated the fraud that robbed you of a better quality of life.
To my young, half-Egyptian, half-American half-sisters, I love you both with my whole heart. Your arabic has a southern drawl. “Salaam Aleikum, y’all.” To my Egyptian stepmother, you taught me more about Egypt than you will ever know. I feel a familial bond with Alexandria, Egypt, since both my sisters were born there. I now have blood ties with a land I have loved since my first visit in the 1970’s. To all women who battle the chunky swells in the Sea of Humanity, may we all set a steady course and keep our vessels ship shape. To be continued.