Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Open Window

Bernadette Adora

Letting go is to allow for more. I honestly believe that resisting change, holding on can thwart our personal as well as our collective development. Letting go allows for peace of mind and a strengthened spirit when love is lost, abandoned, or even awakened. Letting go assists with shaping and refining our dreams whether they are sweet, bitter, or just phony-baloney; dreams are the stuff that helps deliver our daily bread be it a salty, bland, or fine loaf. There should be a letting go of the old and the worn-out, whether or not we ourselves brought it in from out of the cold.

The night of November fourth, two thousand and eight, I began letting go in earnest. The window swung open wider than I knew possible – not in my lifetime I had thought. But, it swung open nonetheless, and I began to let go and acknowledge dreams deferred; fears untold; and a deep, abiding despair inherited from those, who had loved me dear; mine, who would wish me safe, if only I could stay small enough, hidden somewhere out of harm’s way. I am the great-granddaughter of a man, who survived the Klan when being sought through the back country in Georgia for being thought uppity and above his station in life. I am the granddaughter of a man, who was born a slave in the hills of Kentucky. I am the granddaughter of a woman, who stepped through the doors of a prestigious college only to clean homes of the rich until arthritis and old age took its toll, and she could no longer bend or kneel. I am the granddaughter of another, a midwife and nurse to folk denied the care afforded those with the proper birthright by color or caste. I am the great-granddaughter, granddaughter, daughter, mother, sister, niece, auntie, and cousin of teachers, a judge, bus drivers, politicians, nurses, lawyers, artists, government workers, machinists, salesmen, doctors, housekeepers, students, athletes, union members, housewives, soldiers, chief cooks and bottle washers!

Sit up straight and carry yourself thus, I would tell my daughter when she was little; you are descended from kings and queens. I taught her by word to be large, visible, and always in the right way, while I stayed smallish, somewhat hidden, and well, mostly out of harm’s way – but not too much it now seems. Do as I say, not as I do – what a mixed message my daughter received. But as she moved forward with more courage in her young life than I ever dared, I continued to carry bags packed with deferred dreams, stuffed with fears yet to be told, and heavy with despair, which unbeknownst to me was going out of the first open window. The night of November fourth, two thousand eight, I began letting go.

And, yes, there still exists too much of the hatred and ignorance that chased after my great-grandfather nearly a century ago. And there remains the naysayer and the disheartened along with the madness and sadness of the human condition. My ancestors would caution me if they could in lowered voices with knowing shrugs and furrowed brows, all the while taking firm hold of my shirt sleeve to help spirit me away to a safer place. Yet, through a window opened wide, an odd assortment of old baggage floated up, out, and away on a November night. A new smaller bag replaces the old, where I have begun to add an immeasurable amount of trust in all things good. This is my bag that I open that I pack that I close that I pick up that I carry that I set down and that I empty at will; I respectfully discard those limiting ancestral patterns.

I am letting go of what no longer serves me or mine by embracing the present as one tiny conduit for tomorrow’s today. I wish to welcome the descendents of all the kings and all the queens everywhere as a granddaughter, daughter, mother, sister, auntie, cousin, friend, neighbor – as one good woman amongst so very many!

BA 11/08

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