Friday, June 19, 2009

Candles & Sticks ~ CMpart338-Fr-2-Sg~Wjms.jpg

Candles & Sticks
JM Shephard

My home is myself. I didn't realize that until just this past week. For years I've had recurring dreams of endlessly searching for a home - - a place where I could settle in, relax and rest, belong; a place where I could be the best of me without all the trivia and issues that bog me down and slow my tread. Then, last Wednesday, sitting at my Uncle Jerry's funeral, I realized that the only home there was for me was myself. I've had houses, but I've never felt safe in them, and they were always too easily gone. It occurred to me that my home is not some edifice of tangible construction, but rather it is made up of the people who move in to, out of and about my life.

I came to this sense, this perception, when I realized that there was a crack in my being, my sense of self, which was caused by my uncle's death. He'd always been there, part of the mortar of my life. Sitting in the church, I felt exposed, felt a chill draft flitting at me, and I realized that I'd lost a part of my foundation. A stick - part of a wall - had fallen away. I pulled myself about me, huddling into myself against the stunning revelation that opened over me as I went through the procedures of my uncle's death.

The people in my life seem to be a range or combination of sorts of candles and sticks. And, this range can be quite extensive - multi-functional. The candles are usually those whose involvement in my life is like a warm amber glow - like sun in my belly that just feels so good. These are my friends and some of my family. Some are lovers, though their presence covers more of a different range - that which I'd define as being all the way from firecrackers to duds. Candles are the expression, the "art" of our lives.

Sticks are usually foundation people - those who are part of our formation, our growing, and journey through life. They are the method, the tools - the "craft" of our lives. These are usually family, neighbors, teachers - the people who are with us through the routine and mundane, as well as some of the awful or celebratory times of our lives. Of course, sticks are also multi-functional. They may trip us up or beat us down. Those who do can be called, perhaps more appropriately, clubs.

Wednesday, I said goodbye to a stick, a part of a wall - and it hurts. There will be a gap there where he has always been. The chill is un-nerving. I have no way to patch it. My life is changing and I must move with it, even as it begins to feel a bit shredded by the rifts and cracks that chink away at me. It seems to me that no matter what the "materials" of our homes, the elements of life and nature work to maneuver and erode them, bringing us at last to ourselves. Hence we gather our candles and sticks, distant or dear, but essential to the journey and desire - - to the dream.

© 1991 JM Shephard ~ JOY in the arts!

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