The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I was in the Atlanta airport, standing at the arrival lobby with many others, excitedly awaiting my daughter and her husband to appear at the top of the escalators. By the time, I saw them in the sea of people, I had tears running down my cheeks, in spite of my discreet wiping – trying hard not to give myself away.
Alas, my daughter took one look at me, rushed toward me, and gave me a big hug. Then asked “Mom, are you okay?” “I’m great” was my reply. She pulled back and looked at my eyes to see if I was telling the truth.
Before she could ask the next question, I responded. “I’ve been watching families coming together – sons, daughters, mothers, dads, friends, loved ones. It touches my heart to feel the gift of life, family, joy, and love. I’m so glad you are both here.”
Many years ago, a teacher told me “Kathleen, when your heart is open, your eyes leak.” It was a great gift. All my life, I had been told to be strong – which meant no crying. I didn’t realize that the tears have to go someplace and if they don’t flow, they get stuck inside. Over time, they overwhelm our heart trying to keep them in. In this simple phrase, I was given permission I didn’t know I needed – to let the tears flow and feel the gift of an open heart.
The following Sunday, we were back at the airport, they were going home. Yes, the tears came again. Still joyful, loving. But, in a different way. Rather than tears of loving anticipation, they were tears of loving gratitude. The hugs, kisses and waves goodbye all held the laughter and love of the weekend and of our lives, fully shared.
Driving home in the quiet, I remembered we don’t need momentous occasions for our hearts to open. Every moment, we have the opportunity to feel the gift of being in life. “Breathe is all in” I whispered to myself. The sound of an arriving text message brought me back to the traffic, my daughter letting me know their plane was on time. I smiled “All is well.”
How do we hold a lifetime of life? The precious moments we’d like to hold onto? The moments we’d like to take back? The simple routine moments of every day? We let them flow.
Like the river, we let our heart flow with all the life that comes. We laugh. We cry. We love. We feel the gift of being spirited humans. Doing our best. Feeling it all. Remembering that strength is like water – always flowing, carving mountains.
“Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water. Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it.” Tao te Ching # 78 from Stephen Mitchell.
Thanks for reading!