A friend’s mom died a few years back. The diorama my mind has reserved just for her is overflowing with music and color. And glitter.
At the celebration of her life, I cried. I laughed. Mostly, I nodded. Her children thoughtfully painted a story that included all of her. All of her.
My husband’s aunt told me something that day, and it is forever one of my new best truths, carefully tucked away. “We have to let the cream rise to the top.”
We don’t have to forgive, but we can. We don’t have to forget; and maybe we shouldn’t. And while we can take out our scissors and snip others into smaller, more palatable bits, we can also look quietly upon their entirety.
Humanity is messy. Broadly horrifying, in fact, in moments and seasons. There are things that cannot be forgiven, nor forgotten. We’re not talking about those today. If you are carrying those in your pockets; I carry love for you in mine.
The mortal failings of our ancestors will tint our stories. Our journeys together inform our struggles, and yet our species is resilient enough to push through the barriers bit by jaw-clenched bit.
We can push, rest, and grow, overcoming the trappings of our lineage. We can move the line forward, applying the lessons one by one, then stepping back to peer at any results.
The seeds we sow may not break free from their shells, until the next generation has carefully sheltered and tended them. No, you may never see the fruits of your labor, and for that I can only say, trust.
Every gain that is made, every family shadow that is cast into new light, and every bright gem that cries out to be captured in the mind’s diorama counts! These inform our stories, and even more so.
I am writing a lot about my father these days–from a well-informed view of him in his grand entirety. He is the ocean to us–our family. Bone in every shell. Complexity of sound in every crashing wave. Sand swirling amidst the clear. Warm sun on driftwood that’s tumbled a mighty distance, just to land right here.
No one can dictate how, or if, you will grapple with the unwieldy mass of all that came before you. No one can reassure you it’s worth your time to unearth yourself from beneath its heaviest weights. And no one else can hold your face and reassure you it’s ok to stop running.
This life is merely an invitation; to ponder, plot, and find the wiggle room. Every day is quite precious, and yet it’s ok to let them pass quietly.
Untangle what you can. Reorganize what you need to. It might not all come free in time. You may decide to leave it.
So leave it lighter. Cast gems in your wake. Let your sweetness rise to the top any day that it can, and beguile the shadows so they have no choice but to melt away, dance off, and lie down to rest elsewhere.