The understanding of who you are is within you.
Trapped inside, often for far too long, that clear vision of one’s true self desperately wants out, so it can be free at last to find its right path to becoming real. But things can get confusing, and we can lose our way.
I am reminded of the bird we saw two summers ago, a frantic little creature that somehow got trapped between two window panes in a second-floor room of this old farmhouse.
We shared that special moment, didn’t we, my love? It told us something very important. We even knew what it was. But by then I suppose the troubles were already insurmountable.
As you stood looking up from the grass down below, wanting me to be so careful as I slowly lifted one sliding pane up and reached between the glass, we both knew who it was, didn’t we?
It had been her “craft room,” her escape from the pain, abuse, and anger in this house. It was the space where she found some peace, where she created special moments, with her pencils and paints, some carefully-bought, inexpensive materials, and bits and pieces of found things. She could see, in her way, they held the promise of beauty.
And it must have been the place where she had her visions, her sense of what her life could be. She had done what she could to make it happen here, to whatever extent possible. She painted flowers, for example, on the entrance-way floor, just inside the front door to greet visitors – her wonderful, personal expression of welcome, and of hope.
But she was trapped by circumstance. There’s a photo, a negative actually, that I’ve found: It shows her standing with her three growing boys, with her hands on the shoulders of two of them, while the oldest stands nearby smiling as if all is well. But you can see the weariness and pain in her eyes, growing old too fast. What a contrast to the much earlier photo she once showed me years ago of herself as a young, and still unmarried young woman so in love with being alive.
What might her vision have been then, in the face of prospects that in those days were so prescribed and limited for women? Did she have a vision? Was there anyone here to help her understand it? Not likely, though she did mention a teacher who strongly advised her to venture out in the wider world.
But she loved Hope Ness. The spirit of it was so much a part of who she was.
So, rightly or wrongly, she never left.
And then we know, some of us, that you do what we can with what remains, don’t we?
But there, long after she was gone, the little bird flapped it wings against the glass. How long it had been there, doing that, and how much damage it had already done to itself, we had no way of knowing.
I reached in between the glass and, as gently as possible, managed to get hold of it. I have no doubt you were right there with me: it was your sensitive hand as well as mine. Sometimes we really were good together.
I let her go and she immediately flew off into the nearby forest.
We knew who it was. And we also knew it was a message for us, didn’t we? We needed to fly away from this place, while we still had the chance.
We didn’t. But you’re gone now. You have flown away, set yourself free to pursue your dreams, make real the vision you have always felt within yourself and perhaps now understand better than ever.
And I understand.
God be with you, my love. I wish you nothing but the best, and you know I will always do what I can to help.
I will make the best of what remains. And I will do that, not just for you and others I love, but for myself too, as you often said I should.