The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,
is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can't breathe.
No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.
- Margaret Atwood
It is absolutely essential I learn to live with an open hand. Just imagine how liberating that would be - if only I could fire up the courage to pray for it, and mean it (Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend our spirits and our bodies...). What if I made all of my parenting decisions based not on fear (fear of death/pain/failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of being resented, fear of being inconvenienced) but on a fierce love free of strings, presumptions, baggage, vanity?
It is absolutely essential I turn my gaze away from what I can't control, from what I do not own, and reach out desperately, determinedly, for the hem of Christ's garment.