Archive for Wednesday, May 7, 2008

One simple text message cracks shell

May 7, 2008

I feel like one of those dinosaurs in the children's movie "Land Before Time" - asleep for a very long time and now cracking out of the egg shell that has contained me.

It began with the hospitalization and lengthy illness of my older sister who went to an area hospital for a routine procedure and found herself tethered to life support machines, struggling to stay alive; tethered to this world by some invisible thread.

Throughout that process, her five adult children and my brother have kept daily vigil at her bedside - conferring, reading, talking, soothing and praying. Other family members and I have kept the respective home fires burning.

We have also been researching, reading, e-mailing, cell phoning, text messaging. It was with the initial text message I received from one of her daughters that I noticed the hair line crack in the shell that contained me. I didn't even know my cell phone had the capacity for text messaging nor did I know that I could learn the art of texting back.

I learned.

Between late nights and early mornings, I have found a renewed capacity of being available to family; putting family first and foremost; all other priorities sinking to the bottom of the list. At the same time, we have all taken my sister's admonition to not look back, only forward; keep focused on family, children and the future. Be with those you love and who depend upon you. Whatever you do, don't neglect spouses and children.

We are learning.

Not only do I get cell phone, e-mail and text messages, I get photos via e-mail which I have learned to open and print. Then came a multimedia text message with instructions to access the Internet. After three tries, I did it. Up popped a photo of the newest member of our clan, in her little orange outfit, in the arms of her father. I looked at those two and in the eyes saw family looking back at me. Tree Stars.

When we have lived in a place, tethered to the earth from which we sprang, for over 30 years, a brittleness sets in that doesn't allow for much change. If we are blessed, some event comes along, however bittersweet, and taps upon the shell that has so safely and surely encased us; contained us within but perhaps kept us away from our source of life and energy.

Taps from the outside, something within us responds; we begin to tap back.

It is the sound of life tapping; the need for loving and connecting that responds. It is the cycle of life breaking the shell wide open. As much as we hurt through loss, we heal through love. We must not look backward but ever forward. It is, as Little Foot exclaimed, the Circle of Life. The shell has broken; we are revealed.

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