July 5th 2017
Of the many things I saw around Bristol RI for the 4th of July Parade yesterday, I was also struck by the stillness and radiation of calm exuded by the Falun Dafa people.
According to their display, their beliefs are anchored by three central tenets: TRUTHFULNESS, COMPASSION and FORBEARANCE.
Now, I am NOT proud to admit what I am about to say:
I am 46 frigging years old, with a decent mastery of English vocabulary, and I DID NOT KNOW what “forbearance” means. So here is a definition along with some french translations for my own edification:
Now what the heck you know ’bout dah?
Because for me, sadly, it’s very little.
I’ve literally lived most of my life as an unbridled, fully expressed, perhaps at times unhinged individual. I am shockingly reminded of the most jarring sentence I ever read in a parenting book, that basically said;
“Because when sh*t hits the fan
-and it will-
SOMEONE needs to act like a grownup,
and it’s NOT going to be the child.”
I distinctly remember thinking:
“Well I’ll be damned. Never seen THAT before! Welp, just ‘cuz I don’t know what it LOOKS like… doesn’t mean I can’t take it on as a goal for myself as a parent.”
Please know I say this with no disrespect to my own parents. They -like all parents- did the very best they could with what they had, and I am eternally grateful. And they did a LOT too; like get out of Arkansas, raise me in California and Massachusetts, ultimately with encouragement and support of independent thought and free will.
Um. It’s just, I think, r e s t r a i n t never entered the picture.
Certainly not my lexicon anyway.
How can this be?
Even as I have been married to a Midwestern Minnesota Man for 9 years, “restraint” has still not occurred to me. (That has been his role, miright?)
So; I feel like an asshole.
I mean; I now understand that I am an asshole.
And as a mom who just navigated a profoundly untoward ordeal with one of the children without the benefit of grace OR restraint, I feel not so much shame as just sorrow. OK shame too, but also sorrow.
Like, Harambe had more “forbearance” than I have in my life.
If you think I am beating up on myself, I’m not. I am just trying to get present to what I didn’t know yet has suddenly been laid bare.
A missing ingredient between myself and qualities I admire in others.
I don’t even have a plan yet as to how to go about acquiring such maturity.
I am just declaring my interest, and the fact that I understand what I’m lacking.
In this department at least.