I drove home from Tennessee on Saturday. It was a nearly ten hour drive that was fueled by my desire to squish my kitty after two weeks of abandonment… hoping as each mile passed that she would welcome my arrival and not remind me of the betrayal with a cold shoulder attitude. Instead of the career focused reading on palliative care that got me to the mountains two weeks before, I chose to listen to one of my very favorite fiction novels on the journey home. Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees never lets me down. If you’ve only seen the movie, you’ve missed the most important feature of the story… the divine mother. She comes through in a thousand beautiful ways, if you know what to listen for.
With Lilly, Rosaleen, and the Calendar Sisters’ company, the long drive was made even more picturesque. Driving along highway 26 through the Blue Ridge Mountains is always my favorite part of the journey regardless of direction… coming or going. The saddest part of going is when you are about to enter South Carolina, and you see the last glimpse of those beautiful mountains in the rear view mirror. I don’t know how to explain how this particular mountain range affects me, but it is something akin to coming home to the lap of the most nurturing embrace. I have visited other mountain ranges that may be beautiful, but they’ve got nothing on these ancient and wise, healing mounds of rock and blue-green earth. It is always a bittersweet departure.
I’m sure I had a hundred thoughts on writing during my long day’s travel. I started out at 9am, and at 3:42pm I looked at the GPS to see that I had 342 miles left to drive. I did stop to buy lottery tickets in two of the states through which I traveled… because I have decided that if I didn’t have to worry about an income, I could simply be of service to those I love and those in need, without making a business out of it. That’s one of the questions in the end of life doula study… if you didn’t have to worry about an income, what services would you most like to provide? The truth is, it would look something like what I’ve been doing since I left the corporate world. I would walk through the world of uncertainty with those who are facing new challenges in health or in life, delivering comfort, listening with great care and without judgment, advocating for the patient’s best interest, hand holding, wheelchair pushing, driving, reminding, recording, and above all… holding sacred space throughout transition, transformation, and healing.
My soul-daughter and I had a video conference while I was away, and her epiphany was that I was her end of life doula, as she transitioned from her former life where she grew up, into her new life where she will continue to grow in a city where everything is new to her. For the two months prior to her move, I listened to and affirmed her plan – even when others couldn’t understand a young woman following her inner guidance which might have defied logic at times, I helped her pack up the old apartment, and was with her when she found her new apartment, being witness to the magick that kept showing her that she was on the right path. I made a trip over to see her when she was all settled in, and remain connected to learn about all of the wonderful things she is manifesting in her new life. What a gift she is to me! We are gifts to each other.
As I drove onto my street, somewhere around 7pm, I was excited to stop at my parents’ home, which is seven houses away from my own. I carried in mountain gifts of tomatoes, apples, and pickles (Dad’s one request), and visited briefly before heading home to squish my cat. Here’s the really good news… she wasn’t mad at me. She was at the door as I walked in, and when I pulled her into my arms, the love fest began. I didn’t want to leave her until she felt adequately adored. Eventually, I did feel I should bring in things from the trunk of my car. That’s when it happened… Not when you’d think it would happen, while lifting my 26 inch suitcase up and out… no. The snap in my lumbar occurred as I simply turned and lifted the lid of the trunk. It was that simple. One moment you are feeling fine… and the next… excruciating pain through lower back and hip. Oy! Hence, the radio silence since homecoming. I have found it really difficult to concentrate on anything resembling coherent thought since Sunday morning. I asked the Universe why I needed to be going through this right now, and the answer I received was… empathy. My reply was that I really feel like I’ve got this one down already. After all, empathy is at the top of my list of top 5 strengths from StrengthsFinder. I guess I need to listen harder to find another reason. This is what I decided… I shall move through this pain and suffering, reminding myself that there are many living with chronic pain on a daily basis. I am reaching out to the healers in my community, and remind myself that we are never alone and that there are people in our lives who hold wisdom and possibility in the palms of their hands. With each form of treatment, I find some relief and some agitation as healing moves through bone and muscle, fascia and flesh. Earlier today, pain came while walking and this evening it was walking that brought relief, as I headed over to see my folks – feeling badly about coming home and then disappearing again to nurture my wound. So I know that tomorrow will be twice better than yesterday… reminding myself that suffering is temporary and that this, too, shall pass.
As I walked home tonight, twilight was bathing my surroundings in that magickal light. The waxing moon was reflecting the radiant sun no longer in view. I thought about how I am already missing the fireflies that danced through my friends’ yard… here in Florida we spray for mosquitoes, so firefly sightings are extremely rare. But as I looked around me, I was thrilled to recognize that the magick and beauty of nature that I could see, hear, smell, and feel in the mountains can also be found right here at home. As I looked up at the radiant moon, I saw our beautiful bats in exuberant flight – dashing to and fro in a dance of joyful mosquito consumption, and I could hear the cicadas screaming their deafening chant of summer evening delight (our cicadas sing a different song than the one heard in Tennessee – and I love that sound, which reminds me of summertime in childhood when the streetlights came on and it was time to leave friends and head home). It had rained in the late afternoon, so the earth was moist and I could smell the color green that pours forth through lush trees, plants, and grass, and the air was delightfully cool as a result of that earlier precipitation. As I walked along the familiar path between the home where my parents live and the home where my grandparents once lived, I realized that though healing in my back is not complete, it is in progress – and though I am no longer in the mountains, I am still surrounded by overwhelming grace and beauty… and though I have not yet won the lottery or determined how a future income will present itself, I am not fearful of the future and I know that divine timing will allow all that is needed to fall into place exactly as it should, and for all of this… and I mean all of it… I am eternally grateful.