Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Little Tenderness

Today it's all about tenderness. And it's not just because I'm eating what amounts to baby food.

It's a rough-and-tumble world, and lots of other folks seem to be feeling delicate too. Blame it on planets, politics, dental procedures. We're all a little sore and sensitive in lots of places we didn't know we had. Or we just have new places to feel it. Big raw sockets, left after an Ostara purge of what no longer serves us.

I've kept to myself after finally getting my wisdom teeth out. It's a time to sit quietly and do what you thought you always wanted to do: eat too much ice cream and watch too many movies.

Even then, there will be detractors. Some will say you're not relaxing right, you're not eating the right kind of baby food. You're not being the right kind of baby.  You know you will manage just fine and they are wrong, but it still hurts.

And then you go in for more suffering because you were scared of it, you waited too long. You open your mouth and get 15-20 years of yellow concrete chiseled out with what you can only assume is a tiny jackhammer.

You feel very clean and a little bit queasy. But mostly you lust after the crunchy things you know will just hurt you more.

But you treat yourself gently. You know that even if you're not getting it perfect, you're getting it.

If you had to please everyone, you'd eat things that are only raw, paleo, gluten-free, casein-free, macrobiotic, low-carb, and vegan: in other words, very little. Instead, you eat absolutely anything mushy that will sit well and make you feel stronger. You reassure a friend that it's not so bad to eat cake after chemo because, hey, you just had chemo.

Most importantly, you try to deflect the crunch of the world and return only tenderness, because you remember what it was like so long ago when you felt like a missionary and just knew that whatever your mission was, it was A Matter of Life and Death Literally. What a burden it was. You remember the heaviness and the pain. Your heart aches for the person who is preaching at you now about one cause or another. And it makes you answer more softly, more gently, even if you want to scream.

And then, you scream.

You are not Jesus, Kwan Yin, or St. Anything. You have your limits. There are moments for sacrifice, just not every moment. You love yourself, breath, body, and blood. The world is littered with sad, broken people who gave more than you did, with the dearest of intentions. You are not required to be like them. You are required to be you. And anyway, you know that quite a few of the gods appreciate it when you possess a spine. It's good and good for you.

To be one face of the Divine is not just a responsibility but also a right. And if being you means being imperfect--and it does--then do so. You are your lopsided smile, your ridiculous inside jokes, your scars, your opulent dreamtimes, your highs and lows, even your blahs. You are not just one color, not just one dimension, but the whole shebang.

You step back again, regretting passing on any hurt. You'll probably do it again, but you will also try to fix it up again, because that preacher is a part of you too, and you feel it when you hurt him.

You continue to send tenderness whenever you can, even if he never sees things your way, even if he does not maintain a steady slope toward the ideals you hope he will achieve.

And maybe, just maybe, he does the same for you, because he too is a face of the Divine.

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