Sunday, December 11, 2005

Love Emerges in Memory

It is the little things that bring us to our hearts. We search for the answer to our longings in big feelings and big events, as if the sky would open and out would pour the liquid that would heal all of our wounds. I know, as sure as I breathe, that the little things; those small images and inklings can be passed over so easily. If we can but recognize them and risk the holding of them for just one moment that this is what opens up vast understandings, can become liquid pouring from the sky and change our paradyme completely.

My daddy was not a tall man. He was never a hero. He made choices that I could easily condemn him for if my mind was made up to do so. I didn’t know what he gave me in my life until my children were grown. The love of mattress ticking lead me to my daddy’s goodness. It was the sight of mattress ticking that opened up this feeling in me of love, of safety, of hope.

When I met my sister, after our 25 year separation, she told me stories about him from our childhood, things that I could not remember. He was poor in those years of the 1960s. Three children were beyond what he could fathom dealing with or supporting. But when we three were with him he mustered up his heart. There was no food to speak of unless saltine crackers and water fit into this category. He had us sit at the kitchen table and mind our manners as we crumbled crispy crackers and washed them down with water. He made a bed for us on a large mattress by the window with blue and white ticking and buttons all over. It didn’t matter that there were no sheets or that our stomachs were rumbling, for when we were with our Dad the sustenance that fed us was his wide grin, large hands, and the safety in his gaze. In his face we found love.

Blue mattress ticking is my little reminder of what love is and the power of its longevity. It tells me that somewhere inside of me I chose to hang on to this rightness in my father instead of the wrongness that raged around me when I was a child. Somewhere in this child’s choice is god.
The first time I remember seeing blue and white mattress ticking as an adult a feeling of great love rushed through me. Not having been reunited with my sister yet, I had no idea why this would have happened, this feeling of love washing over me from the sight of an old mattress covered in stripes and lined up buttons.


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