Of course I have read the words of Khalil Gibran many times. Yet this morning I read these words with and through different eyes. I read the blog post of one of my favourite bloggers –
http://deodatusblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/your-children-are-not-your-children-they-are-sons-and-daughters-of-lifes-longing-for-itself-says-khalil-gibran/ and was overwhelmed with the exquisite words of guidance contained in this beautiful poem.
Read this with me.
“Your children are not your children.“
“Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.” – Khalil Gibran
As a mother who carried a precious baby in her womb for almost 9 months my eyes lingered on the words “They come through you but not from you.” Vic came from me? An umbilical cord that was never severed, bound us together from the first second she were conceived. Even though death took my child from me the umbilical cord of love that bounds us cannot be severed. My love for Vic supersedes the bonds of death.
So no, I don’t agree with Gibran although I understand what he is saying. In this case I prefer literally translating his words…
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts..
How poignantly true these words are. As a parent it was horrible watching Vic make mistakes…knowing that her actions and decisions would lead to heartache and tears. How I wished that she would see things my way! My way would have been the safe way. Vic would have been spared rivers of tears and mountains of heartache. My way would have deprived her of great joy and happiness. As a mother I picked up pieces, held her and loved her. I could not protect her. Vic had her own thoughts!
You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
I housed Vic’s little body. The moment of greatest sadness in my life was when Vic’s soul left her body. I was grateful that her suffering was over but devastated that our journey as mother and daughter was over. I knew that she instantly became an elevated being removed from the hardship and indignity that she suffered on earth. I knew that she would never be prod, cut, hurt or be humiliated again. As her mother, I bathed her and dressed her one last time, as I did when she was born. No other prying, clinical hands would touch her again. I was beyond grief knowing that I would never be able to talk to her again. I would never hold her again. I would never hear her say “Love you Mommy” again. My soul mate, my life was gone. My child’s soul now dwells in the house of tomorrow that I cannot visit or even comprehend.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
I never wanted Vic to be like me. Vic was strong, brave, loved, cherished, admired, gentle, loving, forgiving and vulnerable. I am tough, logical and emotionally distant. I allow very few people close to me and, if they betray my love and trust, I cut them out of my life. As a little girl, Vic said to me “I don’t want to be like you Mommy. I just want to be a normal mummy.” Vic was the one who taught me patience, unconditional love, forgiveness and to take a chance on life and love. Vic lived every second of her life. She did not fear emotion. She did not fear love and trust. I pray that her sons will remember these qualities their mother possessed. I pray that they will be more like her than me. I did however love Vic first and everyone else second…
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness. For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.”
I was the bow that send my precious girl-child forth.
The boys do archery as an extracariculum activity. To be a good archer you need consistent anchor points: An anchor point is the place on your face where you pull the string back to consistently. This anchor point should be exactly the same all the time for a consistent grouping of shots. My parents taught me, by example, the importance consistency in values, discipline and love.
An archers grip on the bow handle should be lax and comfortable. My first instinct as a parent was “to grip the bow hard to stabilize it”. My parents taught me to be a comfortable parent. I did my best. I could not do more. No amount of tightening the grip on Vic, her discipline or my love and caring for her would have made me a better parent. My grip was lax and comfortable. My child was an amazing example to the world.
Whether you’re doing target archery, 3D archery, or bow hunting, it is vital to concentrate and focus on one precise spot that you want to hit. As a parent is was difficult to stay focused all the time. Lots of things “get in the way” of parenting. A new love, work, own dreams and ambitions…Yet I gave birth to my incredible baby girl and I knew I had to remain focused. Vic had to come first. She did not chose to be born. I chose to give birth to her.
Archers are told that to be relaxed whilst aiming, is one of the great secrets to success… As a parent it was almost impossible to relax. I spent my child’s life trying to keep her alive. If I relaxed I know it could have led to her death. When your child is sickly, you are overprotective… Today I wish I had relaxed more. I wish I had spent more time discussing things that, mattered to Vic than the number and colour of her bowel movements and vomiting sessions. I wish I had relaxed about her smoking. Smoking did not kill her. Doctors did.
“At the heart of it, mastery is practice. Mastery is staying on the path.” With parenting we practice as we go. We don’t ever stop or give up. I wish that we had more gladness in our lives and less sorrow and pain.
What I am certain of is that I was a stable bow. I was unwavering in my love and commitment to Vic and now her boys. The Great Archer held us in His great Hands.
I found this beautiful poem on http://warrenlgdemills.com/2013/05/11/umbilical-cords-a-mothers-day-poem/. Warren is an amazing poet and I have found much solace in his words.
Umbilical Cords – A Mother’s Day Poem
Posted: May 11, 2013 in Affections
Tags: love, mother’s day, poems, Poetry 1
Are but metaphors
To represent the eternal
Connection between mother
Though that cord may be severed
That love supersedes the bonds of death.
For they are the cords of life!
When a child is born
so is a mother.
It is the graduation of a girl
To a woman.
The transition from
Woman to mother.
The ascension of adult
To goddess, creator of life.
Oh great goddess,
Would you understand
The power within you?
Would you fathom
the role you play
On the stage of life?
By your love
Is a great man groomed.
By your neglect
is his future family doomed.
By your touch
Is intimacy first understood.
By your hand
Does he separate bad from good.
Oh great goddess,
For every good child
Reared from your breast
There is a star in the cosmos
To be named after you.
Though that cord was cut
You replaced it with one unseen
Your care, patience for years,
To provide the world with one more
Decent young man to make this world
A better place.
All Rights Reserved. Property of Warren L.G De Mills. Copyright @ 2013.