Even the fireflies have stopped blinking, the chiminea’s summer blaze is cooling and I’m grateful to be in this company.
19 hours of driving from Dallas has dropped me here at my aunt’s Virginia home. We’re tucked under old hickory trees and the laughter of women flutters into the dark.
And I’m sitting here wondering, when did we lose this?
This passing down of stories. These tears shed in some kind of unexpected holy moment. I feel appropriately unqualified to speak.
I just listen.
It’s the three of them. Sisters. My mother and aunts. It’s a couple cousins. We who have traveled countrywide to land back here on this Blue Ridge mountain deck.
The reasons that brought us here to this back street are different, but the things that bind us are the same.
Wounds that gave us bleeding hearts of compassion and mercy. We bare our souls to one another, and balm is spread thick and slow like honey. The oldest says the taboo and we laugh so hard, my own mother can barely catch her breath.
Somewhere along the way, life just got too busy.
I know I am, too self-absorbed that is.
My days are spent working the system, from diapers to laundry to paying the bills, and a deep sense of “I’m alone” settles in as I drift off to sleep. The world feels too big. The tasks too daunting. I begin to wonder if the hardest things have been left for me to tackle.
Just me and myself.
Somewhere along my journey, I’ve allowed myself to believe that doing things with my own strength was impressive. That somehow, my knowledge was enough to push me onto the finish line.
Until I trip and skin my knees, and wonder why no one warned me about that very, obvious bump in the road.
But now I see them. Lucy giggles, now in her twilight years, she tells me how she sat in a tree, begging God to release her from her father’s pressure to be a nun. My cousin, who is now raising pre-teens, pulls down her shirt to reveal a fresh tattoo on her shoulder. We giggle with our unconventional commonality. One aunt marks her claim to blazing new trails. My mother remembers her college years, and then raising toddlers and road trips.
The loneliness echoes faintly, it’s tiny talons feel less strangling.
We tell stories because as women, and ultimately, as humans, we really just want to know that we’re not alone. There’s this thing deep within me that needs to know they know. That when I say, “I’m tired” or “I’m scared,” they’ll meet me with steady eyes. It’s their earned job after all.
They get to say, “Been there, done that.”
The matriarchs sweep in, lifting our weary arms to remind us what helpmates look like. What princesses and queens fought for. What dreamers still dream within our fragile hearts.
The laughter dies down, and we give a final nod as each one wraps her robe for goodnight.
The night is nearly silent until Lucy wraps an arm around me.
“Go to bed. It’s past your bedtime.”
By Andrea Schmid, The Organic BirdLeave a Comment
This is beautiful, thank you! So very true, and a precious reminder that we need to fight for and allow ourselves these kind of relationships and moments. To stop and consciously refill and renew our souls, and be thankful for the opportunity.
Jamie — you’re so right. We do need to fight for these relationships! It’s too easy to just give-up and not try, but it’s worth the fight.
Thanks for sharing such a vivid word picture! Love the richness of your story, and how it is easy to be drawn in and listen to it all. A story can do that. Your story is beautiful!
Thanks Stacey! Stories really are one of the best ways of communicating heart stuff, aren’t they?
Thank you for sharing. This was just beautiful, passionate, and tender. My heart hears yours.
Leah—a heart that can hear another’s heart is a beautiful thing. Thanks for listening.
Beautiful post, Andrea. Everything from the descriptions to the picture is beautiful. But what you had to say…oh so true! Thank you for your fabulous way of describing life in a vulnerable way.
Glenda – sometimes beauty takes some extracting, but it’s there. 🙂
So well written, so well spoken! Times like this happen so infrequently…. We speak about these things only when we slow life down, turn off the electronics, take time to be
Together, quiet our hearts and openly and truthfully…talk!
Adrienne — isn’t it funny how actually “talking” is so rare these days?! How I love a GOOD, real, heart-to-heart talk!
Jen Ferguson says
Such a sweet post and I can relate on so many levels.
Jen—I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels/thinks/longs for these things. There’s something beautiful and kindred about understanding eachother!
This post is profound and beautiful. I live far from family and honestly don’t know a lot of older/experienced women where I live. It’s a priceless gift to know honest, God loving women. I’m going to pray for more of this kind of community in my life!
Sonnie — my family lives far away too, so moments like these for me are cherished. I’m going to pray for you to have this as well!!
Beautiful words that bleed deep into my heart. I am also left wondering why I feel so proud that I can do things on my own….and then I want to SHARE that I did it on my own…the irony is not lost on me.
I need to have fellowship, because if I am left alone with my thoughts too long, they warp my viewpoint on all aspects of life. God did not create us to be alone – it is His grace that ties us all together in His perfect love.
Sherri-Dawn — Isn’t it funny that we all feel like we need to prove things, even though everyone knows we NEED community? That’s why even blogs are good because we have “virtual” fellowship to share in together! Thanks for your sweet comment and reminder that it’s His grace that keeps us all.
Kati Smith says
Oooh, girl. This one made my eyes all misty. I’m sitting in my office, not relating to the mom talk of laundry and diapers, but suddenly you say, “We really just want to know that we’re not alone.” SO TRUE. I love that this meets any woman right where they are.
Thanks for sharing.
Kati — it’s true no matter what season of life we’re in, loneliness haunts all of us. Thanks for your sweet comment and I’m glad we get to share in this together!