Truly we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood.
How grass can be nourishing in the mouths of lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever in allegiance with gravity while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the scars of damage, to the comfort of a poem.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say "Look!" and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads. ~Mary Oliver
What will I pack this time? My ninth trip across the ocean to my husband's homeland. Italy. In the past, I've packed too much. Too many pairs of shoes. Clothes I never wore. Freighted. Weighted down. "This time will be different," I say to myself. I look at my new suitcase, the color of eggplant. I place a few garments and some tolietries inside. A hat. My journal. I lift the small bag. If I had to, I could carry the luggage for miles, it's so lightweight. The "mystery" of "less is more."
Packing for the trip makes me think, too, of "life luggage." What are the issues and attitudes that weigh me down as I move forward in life? Could I not be just as selective, carrying only the things that bring lightness to my life? Giovanni and I were checking-out at Walmart this morning. The woman overseeing the DIY checkout service exhibited impatience and arrogance. She was bossy and controlling. She frowned incessantly. I thought to myself, "Why are you even at work today with such a deplorable attitude? You're acting like helping us is the last thing you want to do. Why are you even here?" I could feel my anger rising. My judgment spilling over. I caught myself. It wasn't worth it. How could I know what was going on for her? Why would I let a person I didn't even know ruin my day? Why would I hang on to angry, judgmental attitudes? "God, help her. Give her a better day. Give her a better life." Such a simple thing--deciding not to carry things that aren't mine--that I don't need. The mystery of "letting go." The joy of traveling lighter.
One year ago, I lay in a hospital bed, recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. Today, I placed my wigs on stands, covered them in plastic and put them away with some reverance. They acted as my friends on all those vulnerable days when I was bald. Now I have a head crowned with silver. One more mystery, yes. These days I look in the mirror and say "Look!" I laugh in astonishment and bow my head.