Posts Tagged ‘family’

I’ve been living in this new domicile for 16 days now. Rather than where I hang my hat, the place feels like a dwelling to which I’ve won custody for a still-to-be-determined length of time.

I see wires running over and under the ground, I see pipes and electrical outlets and switches and I don’t know from which spot they emanate nor what magical path they follow nor howtheheck I’m going to manage when something goes sideways.

But each morning I look out the windows with a substantial degree of awe.

A pair of red-headed woodpeckers showed up the other day. The population of Stellar’s Jays has increased from three to five — clearly word of our superior brand of peanuts has travelled the far reaches of the woods. Two fawns with their mama crashed about below the deck one day — and the subsequent day the rhubarb had been noshed to the ground.

My friend Mary recently departed her home of several years, a century home closer to its second hundred than its first. She remarked more than once that the home had not been hers, but rather that she was its guest, its custodian for as long as she would be there.

It was not hers.

Just as our children are not ours.

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I didn’t ever get what Kahil Gibran was talking about when I first read this poem — a poem which was taped for months to our back-porch freezer door in the early ’70s. At 13 I hadn’t resided in a house with windows devoted to an ever-inspiring view of the Pacific ocean, nor had I gleaned that parenthood would entrap me with all its romantic moments of hugs, tears, stubbed toes, ER visits, kisses and declarations of undying love.

So maybe that’s why this house takes me to a different place. It’s so far off the dream radar it doesn’t register. The joy of two children traipsing about is always good, even on the days it isn’t.

It’s about cherishing where we are and what we have because it’s all a for a very short time.


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