Welcome to the Hearth

Welcome to the Hearth

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Songs In My Heart


Some of you may think I’ve been missing in action, but actually, just “away from my desk.” (It was a bit tricky in this little town I’m staying in finding Wi Fi.) I’ve been spending these past few days taking care of my father, who had a stroke many years ago and has been recently moved “home” to my brother’s house. This home used to belong to my parents. Since the move, my brother and family decided to go ahead with their plans and take a week’s trip to Hawaii for some R & R. I said I would take their place on the home front and look after dad. Since one whole side of dad’s body is paralyzed, he needs help with just about everything, and I mean everything! It gives me a whole new way to ponder the question of: what is the sound of one hand clapping?” That isn’t even the half of it.

We have had some wonderful times of remembering. I related one of my memories to him the other day about the time we lived in Japan. I was about 7 years old then. He took my two brothers and I out for an adventure and ended up buying a harmonica for each of the boys and for me a rather elaborate but useless (to me) parasol. I was in a “snit” because I thought a harmonica was far more interesting. I always thought boys had far more interesting and freeing kinds of toys and clothes and activities that they were encouraged to do. To me, wearing a dress was the most impractical garment ever created. They always got dirty and torn when you climbed rocks and trees. (You should have seen the challenges we had when we wore the full nun’s habits in “the old days.” Many a time while riding a bike my long skirt would get hopelessly caught up in the gears. I'd have to stop and actually step out of my dress to free myself. But, that is another story.)

Anyway, after he heard my thoughts about it, he carefully rolled his wheelchair over to a shelf where he kept his magic box of treasures. He took out 3 harmonicas and told me about how after his stroke; special people in his life gave him harmonicas since he could no longer play the guitar. I asked him if he ever played them and he said: “ no, all the many years of smoking pretty much trashed my lungs so I just have to keep the songs in my heart. I want you to have these when I’m gone so you can keep my songs singing.”

It just goes to show you, what ever we may think is limiting to us, like dresses and girl-type socialization customs, nun’s habits, not enough money, a less than stellar social life or even old tapes playing in our heads or coping mechanisms that keep us stuck, what is really freeing is always an inside job and the heart is where we keep the songs that keep the music of our lives alive. This is my take away gift being in this awesome soul’s presence, and the gift I share with any of you out there reading this. You and I have the Songs of the Heart to carry us through and to help us find our greatness despite our perceived limits. They are probably bubbling up in that River of Grace that flows through and flows through and flows through all our limits. I can hear your songs joining mine now. Anytime my limits keep me stuck, I can always sing the songs in my heart and find my way home....

13 comments:

Kikipotamus said...

Ah, tears. How beautifully you conveyed something so profound and true.

ladybug said...

My heart is humming just thinking about this....thank you. :)

miss*R said...

I have been checking back daily... lovely post. I think I will take my inner child and buy her a harmonica... and keep my heart music alive... you know, reading this post, I can feel the songs in my heart xoxo thankyou

storyteller said...

I'm glad to find your lovely post this morning. Like miss*R, I've checked in daily even though Google Reader showed no new post until this morning.

Your experiences with your father remind me of the summer I spent caring for my older brother before his death in September a few years back. He didn't want to spend his last time on earth in a hospital, his wife needed to work, and it was "summer vacation for me" so I drove 90 minutes to their home early in the morning on Mondays, stayed the week caring for Dave, and returned to my home late on Fridays. Hospice provided some help and he had trouble occasionally letting "his baby sister" care for him, but the tears & laughter we shared during those 10 weeks together resonate in my heart even now ... and I'm grateful for this unexpected "gift" to us both.

Thank you for sharing here ... reminding us about the power of the "songs in our hearts" and giving us all food for thought at the hearth.
Hugs and blessings,

Dandelion seeds said...

your words continue to touch a broken place inside me. Broken, but healing. thank you. and thank you for the wonderful comment you left on my blog-a wailing wall is an amazing idea!!!

Dandelion seeds said...

your words continue to touch a broken place inside me. Broken, but healing. thank you. and thank you for the wonderful comment you left on my blog-a wailing wall is an amazing idea!!!

lucy said...

feeling a little blue this morning, this was a perfect message for me to read.

it is a wonderful reminder to keep singing the songs in my heart rather than getting stuck in the limitations that seem so, well...limiting.

sometimes we need another's hand to join ours so that we may clap out loud.

blessings!

Gawpo said...

Kathryn, I think you and I need to get together at the hearth. Go see my most recent post. I don't know why I didn't click my blogger friend, Annie's email to me prior to today, but you know the back side of the tapestry as well as I do, and for that reason I just now clicked on it. Right after I posted. Feel free to point out any inaccuracies. It has been a long time since I was "inside."

And to top it all off, I just got off the phone with my builder with whom I am firming up the plan to build the 12x12 pottery studio here at my home so that I can get back on the wheel.

It all just comes together. Doesn't it? G

Gawpo said...

P.S. Feel free to email me. I will be doing Fine Arts Day at Yaquina View in February and I need to hook up with you to talk clay bodies.

Peace.

Out.

G

AnnieElf said...

Reading of the special time you had with your dad reminded me that hard work though it was, it was also a privilege to watch over my mom after her stroke. She has found her peace now and as time moves on, I remember more easily the good things.

The Dream said...

Hello Sister Kathryn-

I am SO deeply touched. Your have harmonicas now! Your father sounds like such a sweet man.

My father is 94 years old and even after many strokes, he remains sweet. He may not remember my name sometimes, but he can dial up The Our Father and The Hail Mary! He always refers to me as The Artist (acceptance finally - after saying Hell No I Won't Go to the Law School!) and says, "It's so nice to have an Artist in the family." This makes my heart sing - every single time!!!

Every summer the Sisters of Saint Joseph came to our beach house for a day - most showing up in the old garb. There were a few younger nuns who wore normal clothes and it freaked me out to see them in bathing suits. These are the nuns who put me into my adopted family's arms when I was two weeks old; the ones who saved my life when I was a suicidal teenager; the ones who taught at my high school and always seemed to be looking out for me; the ones who were loving and tolerant when I behaved unloveable and intolerable; the ones who were honest enough to tell me that my fancies of becoming a cloistered nun may not be God's plan for me. My gratitude for them and to them lives on.

Cathy said...

Kathryn, nice to read your blog and stay connected - Carla turned me on to you again - nice to hear about your sweet father and the Songs of the Heart - Cathy

onwardb said...

How absolutely lovely, Sister Katherine. I'm so glad I found you, and all, here. Thank you so much...