dropping stones

IMG_0845This morning, sitting in my quiet house with a cup of tea, I heard the church bells from the church on the corner tolling over and over.  At first, I thought it was the bells from the Academy up the hill, calling the kids to class, but that bell happens earlier in the day and only rings once or twice.  This was persistent.  The slow cadence was sad and ominous.  Then it occurred to me: it is September 11. 

I sent a prayer in that moment.  Blessings to those whose grief is tied to this day.  Peace to an endless conflict with eight years of countless victims.  Gratitude for safety and abundance in my own day-to-day.  I sang a song.  I remember…

That bell signaled the rhythm of the day.  It has been a day of reflection on grief and change.  When I have these moments of consideration, I imagine that I am swimming.  As I swim, I carry a bag full of burdens; stones which weigh me down and threaten to drown me.  As I meditate on a circumstance or acknowledge a care, I imagine dropping a stone into the depths.  Usually when it lands, it kicks up some emotional sludge and muddies the water so that I must stop swimming for a  minute lest I be lost.  Eventually, things settle again and I can resume swimming. It is easier as I drop my stones, easier as I release my worries to the universe with the faith that eventually the water clears and things right themselves again and I can swim unburdened. 

  I had a very long conversation with my former husband about our children and our co-parenting and our hopes for the future.  I told him his resentment is a burden for me.  He told me he is sorry for that.  I let go of that stone.

I had someone ask me if there is any possibility of reconciliation with a lost love.  There is not. I re-read letters he wrote to me and then I put them away for good.  I let go of that stone.

As I was cleaning out files and putting papers in order, I came across journals written two years ago, when my world changed so drastically and so suddenly that I am still catching my breath.  I cried tears of compassion for the woman who wrote those pages as she tumbled about in an angry ocean of grief, illness, uncertainty, loss, anger, exhaustion.  She is me, yet removed enough that I can read of her pain without experiencing it again.  I cried tears of relief that I can see the scars and remember the injury but that I know the healing and the lessons and the blessings.  I did not drown in that ocean.  I am a powerful swimmer.  I let go of stones for every circumstance and every fear that did not come true in those deep and despairing days.

And tonight, sitting in my quiet house with a cup of tea, I wait for the mud to settle and the water to clear.  When it does, I know I will move forward with intention and integrity into the blessings of this journey.  They often arrive on unexpected currents.

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6 Comments on “dropping stones”

  1. sandy Says:

    Loved it. I feel like there is a poem in the stones and swimming imagery-lovely.

  2. Susan,
    Thank you so, so much for sharing your blog with me. This was the post at the top when I linked over to it today. I cried – for the 9/11 victims and their families, for the woman who mourned two years ago, and a little for myself as I recognized the pain. I too, love the imagery of the muddled water and the idea that after that rock (sometimes a boulder!) is thrown, in it does always settle and clear when given time. For me, it’s yoga, meditation and reflection that allow that to happen – sometimes sooner than later. Thank goodness for it. And thank goodness for beautiful people like you (and women like the ones I just spent the weekend with on retreat last weekend) who have a magical way of clearing the water with their mere presence.

  3. Lesley Cruz Says:

    I love the imagery of this. I remember as a child noticing how, when at the lake, you couldn’t see the bottom as you were walking, and playing in the water. However, when you stop and “be still” for a moment things become clear. The problem of course is that when we are in turmoil, we are so eager for that clear picture! I ask for patience daily.

    Yes, you are a strong swimmer! One of the strongest I’ve ever met.

    Your writing is an inspiration to me as well as the beautiful and authentic way you live your life. Thanks for this gift!

  4. Sam Goodall Says:

    you are a gift in this world, my dear susie~ your words so resonate with me- i can’t tell you how perfect it was for me to read this particular post today. thank you for sharing of yourself in such an earnest, reflective, beautiful way.

  5. Amy Says:

    I cried. Thank you for the gift you have given me today.

  6. Kara Says:

    Hi Susan…..I must tell you that this is the first time I have visited your site, and feel totally blessed to have read this blog from today.
    You captured so many emotions from this somber day of reflection/remembrance.

    My soul has been touched in a way that I cannot begin to explain, just by reading your sweet, heartfelt words….

    Thank you for your presence in our world….you have brought joy to so many people, and I am so grateful to be one of them….

    Keep up the GREAT work…..can’t wait to read more!! 🙂

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