When in sleep Mercy visits
He always rests his head
Near to mine
A strangling arrests my voice
At expressing the mercurial
Nature of dreams
Mercy finds me choking
So wraps his arms around
My pillow is wet
My sheets are drenched
Will Mercy ever teach me to breathe beneath water?
When I was around eight, I spent a Christmas with my mother’s entire family, but she was not in attendance. It was the first time I’d spent Christmas with more than just an adult or two in another room. It was a time of revelation, as I didn’t realize there were so many children in my family or near to my age, nor did I understand their excitement at staying up until midnight, until midnight arrived.
Everyone ran from every direction in their pajamas to sit around the Christmas tree overflowing with gifts. A parent dressed as Santa Claus began picking up the gifts and calling out names. I watched as all of my cousins went up to receive a gift, each several times over. Quiet and still, I observed as they all began opening them, giddy and happy at what they’d received. The gifts had dwindled down to two, and still my name hadn’t been called. Everyone, parents and children alike were occupied putting toys together, adding batteries to gadgets, quieting infants. Santa looked at me and I looked at him, in what I think may have been an expression of expectancy. He picked up the last two gifts and called my name. I walked up excited to receive them. The wrapping was metallic green and each had a gold bow. Neither had a name.
The first was a small coin purse, decorated in pink sparkles, and since I had nothing to put in it, I thought I might give it to my Mom when I saw her again. The second was a pair of golden socks, and back then I was in love with Michael Jackson, so I squealed in delight. I wore those socks until they’d decided they’d had enough of my feet. They were the best gift I’d ever received, and I didn’t learn until later how accidental, yet purposeful it was.
Christmas was bittersweet that year, because it seemed I’d been missing out on something I was unaware of, even though I was grateful and happy for the socks, I still remember the moments before my receiving, and the emotions I sat as still as possible with. There was pain, shame, embarrassment, and something in the air that fed my sense of feeling perpetually invisible to the living.
If in your adulthood, you’ve come across someone that has done something for you that revealed something you’d never seen, to lead to a feeling you’d never felt, then you understand the sentiment.
That Christmas, I learned how to receive, and vowed that I would find a way to give, never waiting for gatherings, formal wear, midnight, or for someone’s expectant face to hear their name called.
If everyone could be made to feel as if walking on gold, what would hearts need to knit to make that happen?
I dream with that question and awaken in the drowning knowledge that only Love can make that happen, and the tears are not from sadness, but at not understanding how one can claim to Love, yet resolve to have had enough of walking beside another’s feet, abandoning knitting, and leaving them cold and bare.
Why is there a fight for the ecology of the Earth yet a surrendering to ecological battle for the soul?