For me, entering a new year is always an exciting time! Filled with risks and promises, I welcome the New Year as an opportunity to imagine and grow more, to embrace innovation whilst shoring up established foundations. Wishing everyone abundant courage, success, and laughter! Happy 2018!!
Letting Go in 2017
2017 was in both symbolic and literal sense a year of deep letting go. In January in a telephone conversation my sister shared news that the most important figure of my adolescent life outside of my immediate family, my high school English teacher, had passed away at the end of the previous year. Only a few days earlier I had learned that my ex-husband (more than a decade divorced but in sporadic friendly contact) had also made his passage to the land of the ancestors. The exit of these two beings from the physical sphere, in which I understand and make sense of my live, haunted and guided me through my 2017.
My high school English teacher can be said to have (almost) single-handedly kept me sane and alive through profoundly troubling adolescent and young adult years. His unconditional presence was just that, unconditional. He regularly reminded me that my life was not normal, that my pains were real – but that I had the power to construct balm and healing rituals, and that I was not expendable regardless of what was at stake. He heard me when he could, and when he could not, he listened with the intention of hearing me. He was for me a safe space where my tears, anger, and laughter could role and thunder forward with equal fervor without judgement. By the time I met him during my freshman (or maybe sophomore year) of high school I had developed keen instincts of survival as part of my immigrant journey. Poetry, theater, and dance were my essentials and high school English with Mr. Divine meant that I could delve deeply into poetry and theater. This I did then and never stopped. Rest in Peace Mr. John Divine. Thank you.
My ex-husband and I learned quickly that we were better at dating than marriage. But, although our marriage broke our hearts, it did not break our faith in each other as good people. Our marriage was a dangerously rough road that we did not travel well. I was happy we could walk away. A strappingly handsome man with unbreakable codes of loyalty, honor, and friendship, my ex was a gentle soul who had endured some of life’s harshest blows. He was easy to smile, laugh, and cry, a man who had the winds fate blown 0.001 degree in another direction would have been a greatly honored household name: he had deep abiding trust in his fellow man and was determined to be a better version of himself each day. I shall always remember how in a day of miracle making during the final days of my mother’s life my then husband carried my mother in her wheelchair down and up the narrow stairway of her home and during the process made her laugh to the point of tears. This memory stays with me; in recalling it I still can hear some of the last precious sounds of my mother’s laughter. God’s speed Mr. Charles L. Williams.
These two souls accompanied me on the blessings and challenges of 2017: the wedding of a spirit child, the first home purchase of another, the birth of new ones near and far, re-connection with old friends and colleagues, a close friend’s divorce journey, the development of new professional partnerships, the debut performance of a blossoming young artist, a heart wrenching reunion, new arts projects, the anniversary performance of an award winning play, celebrations of close friends’ promotions and awards, and a new academic post.
Ashe. Peace. Hesed. Dorood. Shalom. Blessings. Farewell 2017.