Here's a revelation from the shower..
The only time anyone gets to think in my household seems to be in the shower. Things have been crazy and the holidays aren't even here yet. Everyone is stressed out. My husband and I were on the rocks. The kids have taken arguing to a whole new level.
I feel like I'm hanging on by my fingernails sometimes. And I'm supposed to be resting after my eye operations.
My six-year-old came and asked me, "Who is the boss in our family? Is Grandma the boss or you or Papa?"
The seven-year-old says whoever wants to be the boss has to be big and strong enough to get rid of Donald Trump, her new nemesis. I barely even feel big and strong enough to get breakfast. Let alone a healthy breakfast.
I was in the shower in the midst of this, when simple words came into my mind, repeating like a mantra:
I am water.
I am the river.
I am the well.
Simple. Too simple maybe. But also the answer I needed.
I am water. Our bodies are mostly water. And the only way I can make a difference in the world or in my family is the way water works its wonders--through persistent, gentle, adaptable and never-ending action. Through seeping into cracks and expanding with the frost. Through the quiet, unbeatable strength of atoms.
My children may not eat a healthy meal every meal, but I continue to work at it. I may be blocked and dammed up at times, but when the water rises high enough, the important things will spill over. Water never stops. Never stops.
Water spreads everywhere. Water seeks freedom. Always heading down toward the open sea. No matter how turned around, no matter how many barriers. Water always keeps seeking freedom.
I am the river. I am also standing in the river, feeling the water flow all around me. I can catch certain things in the rush. My children, for example. I have caught them many times when they might have been swept away on a tide of consumerist glitz and brain-dead computer games.
Someday I will let them go in the river. And they too will be water. They will go through the rough water and scrape against rocks. Then I will have to hope I have taught them to swim well enough because many drown.
I am the well. There is something deep. I don't want to be the only one who gives food or peace or family harmony or hope. But while I can, I let it be. It seems I must be an endless and inexhaustible source for my children and those around me.
I have railed against it sometimes. But even I know I have to be a well. In a home with small children. In a world with so much need and hopelessness. Each of us must be a well of something, whatever it is we care deeply about. Be the source.
If it is peace you want, be the source. If it is safety or joy or love you want, be the well.
And be well.