There is a line in the movie, “Hope Floats,” where Bernice, after her story has been unveiled through out the movie says, “My dad says that childhood is the happiest time of my life. But, I think he’s wrong. I think my mom’s right. She says that… Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome. That’s what momma always says. She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too…
Personally, I think they are both right. Some will experience a happy childhood, while others, like me, are born into chaos, and spend the rest of our lives trying to unknow what we know. Born into brokenness, longing to be whole, and finding that nothing here on earth can fill it completely.
I have been challenged this week to be more transparent in what I know. What my experience has been. There in nothing shameful in admitting childhood can be daunting, but that it will get better. Life will… over time.. give you the tools you need to carve out a great life.
I would not go back to my childhood for anything.. by the grace of God I survived it. And it is a badge of honor I wear proudly.
All to often we look back in time with a sense of romantic notion, and I wonder if it leaves some feeling.. as if there is something profoundly wrong with them it they find it hard?
I have wondered in the last several days, as a society if we have gotten it all wrong, by allowing teens to just socialize with teens… instead of having them in peer groups with women of all ages. So that we can better communicate life as it really is, not only through our nostalgic rose colored glasses, but showing them the scares it has left on us too. And, I wonder if we did if by doing so we would help these young women get through more of the rough patches. How much stronger would they be if they knew our failings, our heart break, and our tales of survival?
How my heart longs to say to them, hope does float. The things that feel so huge today, will be small in a week from now. To have them trust that we elders know that our emotions at times cannot be trusted, how our experience proves that while time does not heal all wounds, they will grow new skin, a tougher skin, and that whatever it is now that seems lost… you find a better version of it tomorrow. That those moments when the pain is so real, and you think you cannot possibly find the next breath, you are proven wrong when it comes… and it does come.
I don’t know why some of us are born into brokenness, but I do know that it will be used as that thing that propels us into faith, and into our best selves if we let it.
How I would love to be able to remind them that we never need to treat a temporary problem with a permanent solution. For all the days of sadness… all the tears of pain you will experience in a life time, they will be neutralized by laughter and tears of joy. Loves lost will be traded in and replaced by a greater love. Friends, who show themselves to be false friends, will fall away and their space be filled with forever friends.
It is our job as elder women, to let them know those things that they cannot yet know, as there hasn’t been time to test it and find our truths.. true. Have we abdicated that responsibility as women in our society.
Last week I went to write on a herd of wild horses. They were stunning and beautiful. As I sat and listened to trainer after trainer, I was struck by what they were saying… All of them talked about the importance of getting a colt or yearling or even a three and four year old who had been in the wild with a herd. Why? you might ask. According to these experts, young horses who have been in the herd, with their moms and other mares, learned from the whole herd. So when you got one, they already knew respect – they had been taught that by the older mares in the herd. They knew what to do, how to be, how to live, how to navigate the terrain ahead.. So when a trainer started to gentle them, the young horses already had a deep knowledge to draw from.
It was a new concept for me. One I hadn’t really considered before. But as I look back on my youth I certainly recall that there were things I would do, or say around my friends that I wouldn’t dare say around my mom. And, things I might say to my mom that no way would I say around my grandma, or great aunts and so on.
I also knew what it was to sit at the feet of my grandma’s and learn from her wisdom. To visit the elderly and listen to their tales. Our kids are exposed to so much more today, then I was yesterday. We expect them to grow up to fast, to belong to too many clubs, to stay to busy…. instead of Sunday dinner with the extended family, learning about life.
I cannot help but to wonder, what if we elders were more transparent about all the stuff we have survived. If it would be just a little more credible to the younger generation that indeed.. with the passage of time…. Hope does float to the surface of our lives.
May I be a testament that, Hope Floats.