Naming Without Fear Of Loss

Archive:  October 20, 2010
The winter months are starting to set in.  I can tell now because Daisy is curled up in my lap and I am in a chair that is too small for the two of us together.  Though she is not large, she is not a lap dog.  I find the contact amazing.  How often we do not give sway to the emotion that living things pass back and forth.


For a while I thought that what I felt between me and my dogs was something only I could feel.  I would pick my old dog, Dutchess up to give her a huge hug after I got off work and would wanter around the house with her in my arms (also not a lap dog) and wonder if she could feel what I was thinking.  I wondered if what I was feeling was just me or if she was feeling similar emotions.  Then, one day, I picked up another, similar sized dog, to see how heavy it was, and Dutchess (the sweetest dog alive at the time) full-out attacked this other dog when I put her down.  I couldn’t be mad.  I picked Dutchess up proclaiming, “You know what a hug is!!!!!!!!” and carried her around the house.  Now understanding that what we had was real, unabashed love.  Even if it was between a human and a dog (which, let’s face it, is perceived by our culture of having the capabilities of emotion as a paper weight).  I no longer hold to that possibility at all.

As I think about this I come to the conclusion that we feel so intensely when we make contact with someone who feels intensely as well is because be BOTH feel intensely.  A hug.  Hands touching on a bench.  A still love being passed back and forth even when human contact is not being made.  The kind of love that fills a room.

I felt this last week when my mom visited.  We held hands and walked through the mall or hugged before she went to sleep.  There was that magical, indescribable thing.  Such deep love.  Such deep and pure passion.  Even when we have disagreed over the years we have had love to draw us back to each other.

I realised as I sat down to write about “un-naming” and “mis-naming” that I must first Name.  This world is meant to be intense and beautiful.  Yet we focus so much of our energy on what is ugly and filled with nothing.  So, if you don’t mind.  I’m going to offer up some pictures of the beauty I’ve been offered before dissecting our cultural faults.

I know that there are similar relationships like the one I have with my mother that we are all robbed of.  And I have been robbed of many relationships that I had a right to, as we all have.  The only reason why this doesn’t grieve my soul is because I’ve been counting my losses.  I’ve become numb to what I have because I’ve been counting what I have-not.  I suspect we all practice the art of un-naming our own lives instead of letting it be named.

My relationship with my mother is beautiful.  It always has been.  And it’s sad that this feels like a confession, rather than a proclamation.  I admit that just admitting I have this relationship with my mom that I begin to focus on the false superstition that my relationship with my mother will be stolen from me instantly.  The moment that I count her as a blessing.  I think we all struggle with this.  But it is a symptom of a greater issue.  That I WILL lose my mother some day (as I have already lost my father and a brother).  Still, why not count her as a blessing.  Because she is.  And I love her so much.  We have always been close and we have weathered my father’s recent death, which is a miracle.  I love my mother deeply.  I always have.  She has always been the member of my current family with whom I am closest.  How important it is to count my blessings and to name them!

My friends.  My closest friends have weathered years with me.  We, in almost every case, have known each other for at least a year, and we, in every case have endured the hard parts of life together.  As well as the joys.  Often times when I am with these people I can feel the love in the room.  The sense of community and family touches every person.   I begin to feel filled by that love.  I know it is not just US filling the room and it is so beautiful and good.  They are all like family (Kacy, for instance, is even “Facebook Official” as my sister) and in every instance I feel I feel some risk in being so close to them.  In letting their hearts so near my own.  But I think even that is part of my love for them.

I feel very similarly about my singing voice and the hope to record soon as I feel about these family members.  Is it weird to say that my voice feels like family?  It seems such a separate entity from my self that it becomes impossible to describe what a joy it is to sing.  Every time.

What else do I love?  I love the way flowers absolutely change the heart of an environment.  I love watching people’s hearts change from hard to soft.  To see a face soften, shoulders relax, a gentle glow of the promise of new life.  I love reading Leonard Cohen’s poems, I love listening to cheesy celtic music with lyrics so astounding that I can not help but listen to it when I need to connect with The Name.  I love writing.  I love snuggling with Daisy every morning.  I love that the Family Wash has become a family to me, and that none of us are perfect.  And that none of us try to be around each other.

And I love that my friends run deep and are not shallow.  And that we deepen each other.

What can be done in the face of un-naming?  When the fear that we will be hurt and all these gifts will be stolen from us is present but to pray that God will protect what He has given us and help us to hold it lightly; that we could stumble toward healing and forgiveness when we find our hearts (as they will be from time to time) broken.

For in this is the process where we come to understand why we were named in the first place.