To Bear Witness
To bear witness to suffering is a trust fall into our deep human resilience. To bear witness is to surrender into the not knowing how any individual’s path is meant to unfold. To bear witness is an explorer’s journey into soft heart and expanding eyes.
To bear witness is to let judgments loosen and to let love expand.
Last evening, I was given the gift of bearing witness to my daughter’s canvas in action. Many colors moving from palette to expression. A dynamic piece that was here for a moment before dissolving into the next.
At 6 years old, Ruthie was clearly heavy and thick and dense in her movement. I watched her from afar as her brother and younger sister wrestled her father on the living room floor. Meanwhile, I saw the sidelines of the match. The shadows around the edges of the main event in which dear Ruthie moved like a cat. Avoiding the doing. Parked in the middle of her Being.
I sat and waited for her approach. On her own time. And she came when that time was right.
I perched on an armchair, turquoise blue with raised floral patterning, and plenty of surface area for the both of us. She slunk up and onto me. Curled into comfort and connection with another human body. And then tucked her head into her forearm.
No melodrama was present. This was authentic and deep pain for her little body and mind. We sat. I waited. I laid a gentle hand upon her back and felt her aliveness pulsing. I thought she may have fallen asleep with her heavy head on her arm and body sinking into my bony frame of mother.
The others left the room. I felt her twitch with awakeness. And then she spoke ever so quietly. Ever so timidly of the truth at hand.
“I am excited – to go to the beach.
I am sad – that I am done with kindergarten. And I won’t see my teacher…”
Her breath caught and she choked over a lump in her delicate throat.
“And I am tired.”
I sat with chest open and full for this brave little girl. This girl who clearly knew that more than one thing was present in the given moment. This girl who was sitting into her discomfort with courage and support.
And then she said with a tad more fullness in her voice, “Actually, I think I am not just a little tired, I am REALLY tired.”
Silence. Space. Room for all of it in our chair.
Life can feel grippy and hard and impossible when it hits with a punch. And then there are moments of light and airy and bouncy.
And then there is a sneaky truth. That it is all present all of the time, dancing its way through light and across shadow.
No one presence in any given moment but instead a canvas of liberally radiant hues.
There is room for it all. Now. Then. Next.
Room for all of it.
Turn toward one another.
Cry and scream and laugh and blush.
Ride baby ride.
I’m over here waving at you. Blowing kisses to you. Smiling from heart to head. Crying from heart to belly. Loving you from this place of not knowing.
We ride. Oh yes, how we ride.