Lightly Child, Lightly.

A year never passes without me thinking of them. India. Erica. Their names are stitched inside every white coat I have ever worn. I tell this story to stitch their names inside your clothes, too. A reminder to never forget. Medicine has taught me, really taught me, to accept the things I cannot change. A difficult-to-swallow serenity prayer. I’m not trying to change the past. I’m telling it in order to lay these ghosts to rest.

You paint feverishly, like Mama. Yet you got the steadfastness of Daddy. Your talents surely defy the notion of a gene pool. I watch you now, home from college, that time after graduation when y’all young people either find your way or slide down the slope of uncertainty. You’re sitting on the porch nuzzling the dog, a gray mutt of a pit bull who was once sent to die after snapping at a man’s face. In the six years we’ve had him, he has been more skittish than fierce, as if aware that one wrong look will spell his doom. What I now know is that kind of certainty, dire as it may be, is a gift.

The dog groans as you seek the right place to scratch. I wish someone would scratch me like that. Such exhaustion in my bones. I will be sixty-seven this year, but it is time. I’m ready to work in my yard, feel the damp earth between my fingers, sit with my memories like one of those long-tailed magpies whose wings don’t flap like they used to. These days, I wake up and want to roll right over and go back to sleep for another hour. Yes, it is time.

Dolen Perkins-Valdez, opening lines to “Take My Hand” (Berkley, April 12, 2022) 


Notes:

  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Comments

  1. beautiful

    Like

  2. That slapping sound you heard was me adding another book to the (growing) pile by my bed…😉

    Liked by 3 people

  3. WLS – I’m going to have to buy another night table …

    Like

  4. “Medicine has taught me, really taught me, to accept the things I cannot change. A difficult-to-swallow serenity prayer.”

    The most difficult-to Swallow prayer.

    This is so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gorgeous. Reminds me, for some reason, of this quote from Rumi: « The wound is the place where the light enters you. »

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I‘m not a doctor but this sentence really hit home – it is my mantra, for many years now and i can say i lead a truly happier liefe since I’ve accepted that short bit: learning to accept the things I cannot change…. Amen to this.

    Liked by 1 person

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