Saturday, January 8, 2011
Forgive me, Mother, for I have sinned.
In my mind, I had led myself to believe, all these years, that my actions were justified because I was in tremendous pain due to an impacted wisdom tooth.
Today I went to a talk about saying "yes." Do you know people who say "yes" and others who say "no." Who do you want as friends? (The speaker didn't say that... I did.) Anyway, in the talk we were asked to describe a situation where we had said "yes" and I thought of how I said "no" to my mom by not thanking her. If I could have, I would have called her right then and apologized.
So mother, this wasn't the only time in my life that I wasn't nice to someone. I once hurt (euphemism) a goldfish too... and I threw a rock at Rodney and hit him in the face. Each time (I wish that was the extent of my bad deeds) I came up with elaborate rationalizations to justify my actions. The goldfish was the victim of a scientific experiment, Rodney was playing with us and we didn't want him to, and my tooth hurt. See... I did nothing wrong. Or so I thought.
I've mentioned before the wonderful aphorism by the Zen teacher Reb Anderson: "walk on the Earth as if it is your mother's face." I had first heard that a few years ago... but today, after the dharma talk, I tried to do it... literally. Wow, it is hard. For one thing, you need to focus on each step. And for another, you need to step very gently.
So where do I go from here? The goldfish is long gone. My friend who participated with me in its demise is now an attorney or banker in Chicago. I could write him and ask him if he even remembers our "experiment." Rodney is an attorney, I believe, in Portland, Oregon. Dare I contact him or would he sue me for child abuse? And my mom... she's mostly scattered in the Pacific... though a little bit of her is here and there... but it is basically too late.
The Earth. She still needs some gentle footsteps. Maybe I can focus on that?
I told my grandson Charlie what my teacher told me 60 years ago... that a work of art is finished when none of the original idea remains. So...