Who Are You?

I was at a funeral on the weekend. A very charming, intelligent friend of my lovely man took off the tight shoe sometime last week after a full 82 years.

Here’s what whacked me: His body was there. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anything but an urn at a funeral. Jeez, it’s unnerving, a bit like being in a wax museum except that Johnny Depp and Marilyn Munroe are absent and we’re all pretending this body is the real thing. We’re pretending this is Ferg.

“He looks good,” someone says.

Who looks good? The thing, the entity in the casket? At the risk of going all Abbot and Costello, there was no who in that casket, there was a what.

It makes me want to sit in a circle with everyone I know and ask, “who are you, to the best of your knowledge, without the bits you’ll leave behind?”

If I have nothing to do with this body, this face, these eyes, and this voice, and nothing to do with the bodies around me ( my kids’ bodies, my friends’ bodies, or suits, or whatever they actually are), who am I?

I’m clear (I think) about not being my profession,  my passions, my stuff, my stories,  my massive inadequacies and inadequate strengths, my tastes, my crummy habits, my humour and my dead seriousness, my absurd affection for my dog, and my not-so-absurd affection for my kids and lovely man.

What’s left?

I can only tell you what I suspect. I suspect that I come from capital-L-Love, that i’m a drop in the ocean, a photon in the big sky of Love, and that my bit of Love operates through this body and all its occupations.

It’s not much, but I like the implications.

  1. If I’m right, you are also a drop of capital-L-Love, which means we’re practically identical twins whether or not we like each other or are bombing the nuclear hell out of each other
  2. I’m comforted by the recycling potential, by the idea that my drop can come and go and come again, perhaps in a different suit, perhaps in the suit of someone  who will not be bombing this time around.
  3. When I take care to create good relationships, I’m closer to  the Truth of Love (and the truth of who i am) than when I am diminishing you in any way.  I feel great when i act from Love.  I feel like hell when i don’t.
  4. I like the combination of humility and grandness inherent in being a drop  in the ocean of Love. No big deal on my own, but the source of all life when I    remember who I am.  Feels good being tiny and enormous.

Last thing.  I have evidence.  If i came from Portugal, Portuguese cooking (those huge sardines, say) would rock my socks.  I’d love it or hate it or have some significant response to it. Same goes for the language, the smells, and the sounds of Portugal.  I’m fairly sure i don’t come from Portugal.

But Love! At Ferg’s funeral, someone read a poem he’d written to his wife a year after she died.  A love poem for a woman who’d been gone for a full year.  The house wept.  That’s because they recognized Love.

I struggle with the distant relationship i have with some of my brothers.  I suspect i  struggle because I come from Love.  I’m homesick.

I can only contemplate work that builds bridges and raises self-esteem (yours and mine).  It’s the only skill set that matters to me, because i come from Love.

My heart hardens, softens, breaks, and breaks wide open in response to Love. Over and over and over.  In movies, in friendships, in the news, at weddings, at funerals.  Portuguese sardines do not do this to me.  Love does.

So.  The truest answer i can get to is, I come from Love. I’m a wee bit of Love and i recognize Love when she shouts  out the window to my homesick heart.  I am Love’s kid, Love’s hope, Love’s chance on this planet, Love’s sappy-happy acolyte.  That’s good enough for me.

Who are you? Are you Portuguese?  Are you Love? Are you just a large sardine who doesn’t care one way or the other?

Thanks to Ferg for not being in that body, and for coming from Love, which is a great home town.  Thanks to you for the conversation,

kristin

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14 Responses to Who Are You?

  1. Penny says:

    Thank you. This weekend I also had to say a final goodbye to a loved one. I helped her through two dreadful days of pain and confusion, a final few hours of realization that she was headed on, and the final breath, when I said goodbye and she, with the smell of apples and cookies on my hand, in her nostrils, inhaled her last breath and was gone. The grief of this hit me like a truck…my yoga practice has helped…and now you have as well. Thank you again.

    • Penny says:

      She was a horse.

      • Nenette says:

        Penny, I said goodbye to my dog last June.
        For five months I nursed him, and I think my
        love sustained him far more than the treatments
        ever did. And yoga sustained me.
        I still feel him around me, because I know he
        would never really leave me. I just miss his
        big furry face, his soft ears, wet nose and
        happy tail. But I know that he’ll always be with
        me – because that’s what love is. I hope you find
        some comfort in knowing that.

      • kristin says:

        Penny, you are gorgeous. Thank you.

  2. Nenette says:

    One of the loveliest things you’ve written Kristin, and you’ve written some lovely things. Thank you. I do think that love is just two spirits recognizing each other as part of the same whole. When that happens, they are bonded forever, and not even death changes that. And for the record, I also like Portuguese sardines.

  3. Johanna says:

    “Love is the only rational act…” You have a gift to express yourself so beautifully. Thank you for that.

  4. Jill D. says:

    your writing just knocks my socks off- you keep topping yourself. i enjoy reading your blog every week.

  5. summer mayne says:

    Penny,

    This made me weep…

    “and the final breath, when I said goodbye and she, with the smell of apples and cookies on my hand, in her nostrils, inhaled her last breath and was gone”

    I’m holding your hand a little right now….I’ve been there and my heart breaks a little for your loss.

    Kristin,

    I continue to love your writing. I like it when you use words like Whacked and Jeez. I also like the line “Feels good being tiny and enormous.”

    Thank you for being so honest.

  6. Vesela says:

    I follow you everywhere, Kristin!
    And I like you always!
    How is that even possible?!
    I read facebook,here and the yogajournal. Are there more places you publish?
    Best of Love!
    Ves

  7. Vesela says:

    My grandma died a few days ago. A week probably. I miss her a lot! But I was already missing her since she had smth like altsheimer’s /sorry for mispelling/. I couldn’t fly in on time for the funeral but just as well.
    I knew what I would see anyway! A shell resembeling slightly my grandma but changed beyond recognition. This way she will always be alive for me. The shell doesn’t really matter. The only thing is she doesn’t have a ‘vessel’ now.
    It will make it impossible to communicate the same way we did! However rare it was easy then. 🙂
    Lot’s of love!
    Ves

  8. Clifford says:

    Hi Kristin,
    Your post reminded me of one of the greatest passages to have ever been scripted – 1 Corinthians 13

    If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels,
    but do not have love,
    I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

    If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
    and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
    but do not have love, I am nothing.

    If I give all I possess to the poor,
    and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,
    but do not have love, I gain nothing.

    Love is patient,
    love is kind.
    It does not envy,
    it does not boast,
    it is not proud.

    It does not dishonor others,
    it is not self-seeking,
    it is not easily angered,
    it keeps no record of wrongs.

    Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

    It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    Love never fails.
    But where there are prophecies,
    they will cease;
    where there are tongues,
    they will be stilled;
    where there is knowledge,
    it will pass away.

    For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

    but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

    When I was a child,
    I talked like a child,
    I thought like a child,
    I reasoned like a child.
    When I became a man,
    I put the ways of childhood behind me.

    For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
    then we shall see face to face.
    Now I know in part;
    then I shall know fully,
    even as I am fully known.

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
    But the greatest of these is love.

    Regards,
    Clifford

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