** This past Wednesday I was able to partake in what for me is still one of the meaningful rites and “passages” in a lunar calendar, Ash Wednesday. This poem may have been inspired by the ancient teaching in the Genesis story and the beginning of profound humbling as to who we are and to what we can possibly hope for from a SomeOne/ Something that chooses to communicate to even dust. (Genesis 3:19: “And God said to Adam, from dust I created you and to dust you shall return.” )
“Go, now, your sins are forgiven. Which is harder to say? Your body is healed or your soul is healed? You have forgiven yourself in the same measure that you have forgiven others. Forgive yourself as We forgive you. Forgive, and Live.” (Paraphrased from The Wise One)
Getting older has a lot of downsides but on the plus side, when you know people already assume certain things about you because of the color of your hair or the texture of your skin, you don’t mind as much as you did when you were young if they think you are crazy or weird if you speak your mind. Yesterday, I had a medical test — another one (ugh) and I looked at the very efficient and young technician and when we were finished, I looked her in the eye and smiled my crooked old-lady-toothed smile and said “Enjoy every minute of your life. It goes by faster than you think it will.” When you are older you get more medical tests and that’s a bummer because you realize your health is going, going, and will sooner rather than later be gone, and especially if you are a woman and an old woman at that, you realize the medical profession prefers to think it’s all in your head or that removing the pain is the answer because there aren’t really any answers that will “cure you” of an old body breaking down and letting go, but on the plus side, you have a lot more empathy for people who come into this world with two strikes against them healthwise, or who live a lifetime in this prejudicial world, and prejudice-wise have always had to deal with people judging them on how they look or don’t look and you feel a new sense of love for humanity and you hope that kind of not getting anything in return kind of love translates into a new sense of love for yourself — for others AND for little old you. Because empathy just might be the one thing that when translated into truthful, take no prisoners, absolute, crazy Love can change even an old heart and body and mind and soul. Sometimes when people see you as an old lady somewhere like a doctor’s office or a grocery store or your workplace or even your own home with friends and family, you want to say, “you don’t really see me. The real me is not this old shell.”
And maybe that’s just another lesson to learn, that if I am very, very quiet and patient, and open the ears of my heart and eyes of my understanding, then I might see the real you, the real him, the real her, the real them and when I really see them, well, then all I can do is love. Because the only thing in the universe that is worth seeing and holding on to is the Truth of Love. I choose to hope that Love is the one thing that might remain forever. Love never seems to have grown old for me, and I think that is because in whatever this real world might be or become, Love never grows old.