Hands on the Oars

Seventeen years ago, when I was newly sober, I recall sitting in my garden pulling weeds. I had been awakened to this ideas of character defects and a Higher Power that promises to help me overcome these. As I sat there in the blazing sun the weeds spoke to me of the reality of my defects. Some weeds came out easily, others took some finger digging. And there were those that had roots so deep and entangled in the soil, I could not remover them without breaking the connection to the root system. These will grow again, I realized.

What a strange new experience it was for me to experience nature speaking to me in this manner. Later messengers would include bugs, trees, weather conditions, birds and all earthly critters. Once I opened the door to the possibility that a Higher Power could communicate with me, it seemed that he/she was everywhere, almost haunting me.

This morning, I was pulling weeds once again. My knees won’t allow me to kneel upon the ground any more. The weeds had taken over the planters on my deck that my daughter had given me for Mother’s Day. I felt bad about how I’d neglected the lovely blossoms that had come here hoping to make me happy. I gave them plant food as I watered them. I hope they have forgiven me for my lack of gratitude.

The thought of weeds representing my character defects was there this morning just as it was seventeen years ago. I am feeling vulnerable today, not with the same depth of pain I felt back then, but with an awareness that there are still character problems that get in the way of me being a truly free person. I know that this reversion back to another time was prompted by the release of my book. I have been a writer for pretty much all of my life, but here I am at 73 years old finally publishing my first book. I could write another whole book on why it took me so long.

Yesterday, I sold my first three copies. I wish I could say that it felt exhilarating, but instead it felt terribly frightening and vulnerable. I thought I had gotten over caring about what others think of me. But there it was, the weed with the deep tangling roots popping up again.

I was given a poem by Jalaludin Rumi last night, That Lives in Us. The whole poem spoke to me but one line in particular struck me: “Exuberant is existence, time a husk. When the moment cracks open, ecstasy leaps out and devours space; love goes mad with the blessings (that) my words give.” When I read this line, I remembered all the times in the birthing of this book when my Higher Power crashed into a moment with an inspiration that helped me to understand at a deeper level one of my characters or a logistic problem was suddenly solved. Such experiences were powerful; they made me feel that I was not writing this book alone. Another line in the poem says, “If you put your hands on these oars with me, they will never harm another, and (you) will come to find they hold everything you want.” And later, “If you put your soul against these oars with me, the power that made the universe will enter your sinew from a source not outside your limbs, but from a holy realm that lives in us.”

I suspect this struggle with insecurity will continue, for the roots are very deep, but I feel my Higher Power telling me to stay close to the Source. I understand the message that I have received and I need to trust my intention. I just need to make sure that the hands on the oars are not mine alone.

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5 Responses to Hands on the Oars

  1. Cathy Hartle says:

    Really powerful imagery and post, Judy! You write beautifully and I can hardly wait to buy and read your book!

  2. Pat Toschak says:

    Thank you the powerful images you set before us today. I love the depth of your honesty. It is very helpful.

  3. Carol Joy says:

    What a joy! Your writing definitely helps to “crack time” so that exuberance can leap forth! As I read your post, I am monitoring a class of students who are attempting to catch up their coursework to get back on track for graduation. The walls in the room have brightly colored sentence strips with uplifting ideas and encouragement. In my role as an educator, at times I forget to refill my own bucket! A wonderful friend shared information about your book. I was on the way (via the Internet) to order your book and hopped over to the blog to get a taste of your writing and thinking. Thank you for taking time for writing the book! I think of myself as a writer and I have several “projects” on the horizon. I am encouraged by your example. I suppose I have been allowing my thought-processes and belief systems to ripen a bit before locking my thoughts down on paper. You encouraged me to allow the husk of time to crack and let the joy of creating escape…come what may! 🙂

    • Judy says:

      Keep writing. I used to be embarrassed to call myself a writing because I had only a handful of things published. But one day it occurred to me that my passion is writing and I write constantly, even if it only my journal. I began then to call myself a writer. You are a writer. Keep me posted.

  4. Nancy Seidler says:

    You are not alone! Love your inspirational thoughts. I ordered your book yesterday from Amazon so can’t wait to get it!

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