Monday, May 21, 2012
Gifts from Gaia
I am in Naples Florida visiting my daughter, Stephanie. Naples is on the Gulf side of Florida where the Sun sets and the waves are calm and the ocean is warm. I love the ocean and I particularly love the Gifts Gaia offers up to us. Most of us "shop" for the most beautiful shells on the beach; leaving behind those that are broken or drab or just not to our liking. I have been one of those people in the past. But this time, it was the "stones" that called my name. Those with holes in them, those broken and those that had no discernible shape! I fell in love with the mundane.
This is not very surprising. I have always been a Voice for those who are broken, those with wounds deep as craters, those with sores open so that the puss is perpetually running out, those who others left behind being too drab and not to their liking. That has been the call on my life. But when it came to shells...oh my goddess...I wanted the best on the beach.
Maybe it was so I could balance out when I was on vacation. Being a social worker I was daily inundated with the poor, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the broken, the ugly; those who were pushed to the side. They were my life and my passion. So, maybe, it was my way of reminding myself that there was beauty somewhere waiting for me.
Then one day, I was working with this woman who was had a very low IQ; we labeled her as retarded at that time. This woman was a prostitute, a very unsightly prostitute. She had wild untamed black hair, wore the most ungodly makeup, and was dirty most of the time. She wore a black mini skirt with torn web stockings, and a top without a bra. I met her when I was called to the hospital to take custody of her newborn baby. She cried when I told her that I was there to put her baby in foster care as she had no permanent address and no "legitimate" way of financially taking care of her child. No one mentioned her very very low IQ which was very evident.
So what does this have to do with shells on the beach?
Well, it was Christmas time when she delivered her son and I had set up a visit for her with him at the office. When she walked in the door, all eyes turned toward her. There she was with her hair all awry, her black skirt, her torn stockings and her shirt without a bra.She was quite a sight for sore eyes. But among all that horrific look; on each temple of her head she had put two red stick-on Christmas bows! She came dressed up to see her baby. It was then that I realized that there is beauty in everything, especially those we only see as Ugly, broken and "not like us." I fell in love with this woman on that day.
The story does not have a happy ending for this woman. I worked with her because the law required me to even tho' it was so very evident she was unable to care of a child. She also had no support system and lived literally on the streets. So, after 6 months I petitioned the court to terminate her rights and placed her son for adoption. I remembered how she cried that day and hugged me and even thanked me for taking care of her baby. On some level I really think she thought he was living with me.
She taught me a lot that day she came in for a visit. She taught me to look past the "dressing" that we use to make ourselves acceptable in the eyes of those defining the acceptable. She taught me that love is shown in so many ways and she taught me that I could embrace both emotionally, intellectually and physically those no one else would dare even come close to. Good thing this woman came into my life early in my career as a social worker. She changed the way I worked with those special and beautiful people who came on my path through abuse, neglect, trauma, violence,etc.
So what does this have to do with shells on the beach? Everything! The gifts Gaia presents to us, whether it be walking on a beach or in the forest; whether it be shopping in Walmart or going to our daily jobs; whether it be the children we birth or those we don't; whatever or however we are presented these Gifts it is our free will to pick them up, wash them off and place them on the altar of our heart or leave them lay waiting for someone else who will pay attention!
What do you see? The Sun rising or the Sun setting? What do you see? The Ocean calm or the Ocean rough? What do the Eyes See when Gaia presents Her Gifts? The Eyes are the Windows of the Soul!