Wednesday, February 03, 2016

'Thus We, The Motley Crew Of Children, Help Row Our Loved Ones Out . . . '

My parents died many years ago, but it seems like not a month passes without a good friend sitting at the bedside of a mother or father as they prepare to leave this mortal coil.  I have shared this poem -- written by a dear friend -- far too frequently recently.

By Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

And so we, the motley crew of children,
we row our parents out
not the way we may have wanted,
but as they wanted,
as they made clear to us,
as they made us promise,
greater heart to greater heart . . .

and so we rowed like hell,
past the riptides
just to launch the battered prow,
and we rowed and rowed
through the glassy pinnacles
and through the boiling troughs . . .
this rowing out,
the last work our parents ever gave us,
perhaps the first and last time
they really ever asked anything of us
for themselves...

And so we rowed out, pulling hard
till all our tendons showed,
til all love and gratitude unspoken
was writ fierce on our foreheads;

and once we hit the dividing line
between the rough waters of earth
and the windward waters of heaven,
we let go the tow ropes . . .
the way our parents instructed us,
the rope sometimes moving tender
slow through our hands,
other times whipping through,
burning every tender part
of palms and heart.

Thus we,
the motley crew of children,
help row our loved ones
out to the open sea--
on orders from the Captain of the vessel--
the only one who carries the maps
from a Captain greater,
the only one knows
how to read those maps
that recall
the soul's exact diamond destination.


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