The Ghost On The Bridge

Sometimes just a stroll across a bridge can ease the discomforts of the present time. I did that yesterday. I hope you enjoy taking this walk with me today.

The Ghost On The Bridge

I suppose he built the small bridge of a familiarity, perhaps a time long past that he wished to resurrect into the time of now. Whatever the reason, I found myself standing in my Aunts backyard yesterday staring at this delightful structure that the neighbor had placed to share both his yard and her own. It covered no water, simply grass grows beneath it, but for me it brought back the sounds of the bubbling of a small creek from so long ago. I took the hand of the ghost that beckoned me and moved over the familiar arch of the wood plank and landed in a place I once loved. The yard around me suddenly bloomed into floral, to my left the Cape Cod inspired small white home appeared, and all of discomfort of 2020 evaporated into the smile of old Mrs. White as she followed the path to greet me. I call her old because in the time that I knew her being just a child she was 105 and had lived four lifetimes. In truth she was likely no more than 70 yet her deep wrinkles, the testament to hours tending her gardens, created the illusion of someone much older.

My Nanny lived across the road from this fairytale place in a small cottage that smelled of sulphur ,the sink and bath drains a testament to the old well water that created the inevitable rust stains. Instead of doors she had the beaded curtains so popular in the 1970’s, and each time I walked through I would walk slowly allowing each bead to fall off me as if I were entering some magical space. I loved it here. At times we would simply stay close to the cottage for the day, and would wander outdoors. To the space in between her home and the next, a large marsh area that gave birth to what seemed a thousand baby toads. I carried a large pickle jar, lined with grass and collected my new friends. If I overfilled I would laugh as the top toads used those below as springboards on which to propel themselves back to the ground. It was not uncommon to find me filling my pockets when the jar became burdened. I always released these small creatures back to home at the end of my adventure. To the back of the cottage a collection of old vehicles, parked haphazardly with a big yellow bus the focal point in the middle. This bus became the fodder of my imagination as I would climb aboard and sit alone dreaming of where it might one day take me. In my mind I painted it with peace signs and pink flowers. In todays world this heap of old metal would be removed, too dangerous for small children, and part of me wonders what the children of today might miss in not having an old bus to build dreams on.

Then we had days where we were to visit old Mrs. White. As we would walk down the long laneway from the cottage I would get excited as the weathered fencing would appear. There was, as you might imagine, a small gate that pulled outward and to this day I can still hear the creak that opened into wonderland. I would always run first for the broken down bridge that spanned the tiny waterway beneath it. Large trees overhead gave the sense that I had walked into where the fairies lived. Old Mrs. White would be across the way, bent over whatever bloom she was tending, and would always stand up and wipe her hands on her pants as we approached, launching into a conversation about something or other that would light up her wrinkles and remind me of crinkled tin foil. On some Sundays after church she would host her infamous pancake breakfast; the highlight of my church experience. To this day I believe my Nanny only went because it was something to do, or she wanted to catch drift of whatever gossip might be swirling in the small Meadow Lilly community. She was far from the religious type, yet nearly every Sunday she would sit in the pews as old Mrs. Whites son delivered his sermon, while I would color pictures of Jesus in the Sunday School below. But pancake day with Mrs. White was always the day everyone looked forward to. She was the quintessential witch of the time and the mother of the pastor. I wasn’t so much excited over Jesus but to me she was everything I hoped to become one day. The old lady in the white house, with the weathered lean-to buildings that housed her wheelbarrow, her garden tools and a plethora of old jars of odds n sods.

I would often catch on our walk over, the tiny toads and deposit them beneath the bridge. If she ever noticed she never said a word about my filling her yard with the little amphibians.

As I stepped back over the bridge yesterday I stopped and gave a grateful wave to old Mrs. White. For the reminder that when times are more difficult than they once were, that we can find some solace in old and familiar places. The reminder that some bridges should never be burned but left to stand waiting for us to cross back into a fairy tale of old buses, baby toads and the old lady that lives across the way.

In love, in light, in laughter.

Tania

F**ck Off, Namaste & Amen. With Love.

**This blog is intended only to serve as a reminder in these very difficult times. It is intended to be an honest and open expression of the truth and nothing more. I believe we can only get through this together if we understand each other a little better.**

If you are an empath, a counsellor, a social/healthcare worker or anyone involved in the easing of human discomfort you will understand when I say that we are in the most incredibly draining time in our own human history. The sadness is overwhelming, the fear is palpable and the loneliness in reduced social activity is creating need of immense proportions. To all those that engage in the human condition please know that it is OK to hang up your wings and swear when necessary. And drink wine. Whatever you need to get through your own day.

“Are Reverends allowed to say f**ck off?” This question popped up into my inbox this evening from a long time friend, a spiritual colleague and someone for whom I hold much respect. As you may have already surmised she is also an ordained Reverend. She worked long and hard to reach this place where she can be of spiritual service, be an ear when it’s needed and a shoulder to cry on. We are much alike in our respective careers so she understood that she could find confidence in me and that I could easily empathize with her frustrations.

Yes, my friends; Reverends are allowed to say F**ck off. Reverends and all those that walk along the spiritual path are certainly permitted to be human. As often and as loudly as is required to make it through a day.

She didn’t need to come to me for permission to use the expletive but it is a natural thing for those on this path to ask if they could have done better. I do it all the time. I seek out a close friend…we all do this. It is a built in system of self awareness. And it’s flawed.

“I snapped someone’s face off this morning, but they kept at me and at me and well…I just lost it. I feel terrible. I could have handled that better right?”

My friend never agrees with that part and is quick to remind me that I handled it exactly how it needed to be handled in the moment that it occurred. And as a psychologist in these current times she had to step back because her own seams were cracking. Lucky for me she hasn’t yet told me to “f**ck off” but if she does I will forgive her for being human first.

Half of the problem is that for most of us that do this work we keep our own private selves private. We don’t share the fact that outside needs pop up in the middle of a disagreement with a spouse. We don’t make it known that we might be grieving our own losses, through death or through disconnection. We don’t make you privy to the fact that at the exact time you sought us out for help, we were dealing with a family member in crisis and absently staring at our phone while scrambling to figure out what to do with them. If we can think straight we may reply with a quick “Sorry not today” or we may simply not respond at all because our brains have turned to mush in that moment. And then inevitably forty other requests arrive and we forget to respond at all. Either way we choose to respond we will be judged; we all know this and accept that it is at risk of our halo falling five inches.

My dear friend the Reverend took steps toward easing others through their pain because she carried the pain of losing a child herself. But she won’t tell you that while she comforts you in your own discomfort. Because she is an empath. We just simply don’t do that. And I for one am wondering what that characteristic is born of? Is it innate or is it groomed in by a world that expects halos to consistently shine without a tarnish? Is it that we were set on a path of being there for those that hurt and with that comes the responsibility to bear it no matter the cost? Or is it because at some point in our own lives we have learned that we never want to cause pain to another soul because we have known that pain ourselves?

I don’t know what the answer is for everyone but I do know that people need to remember that those in the more compassion driven careers are human after all as well. Even when we act like superhero’s, we still had to wrestle in the phone box before jumping into action.

My dear friend was cornered and bullied today because she said no to a request to do something that she wasn’t prepared to give energy to. My friend just put a family member into a nursing home. She was already feeling the sense of failing someone before this bully tried to convince her she failed in her vocation simply because she said no.

“I would have expected more of a Reverend” is self serving and disrespectful to everything this person has put ahead of herself these past ten or more years. And I have no problem with telling bullies such as this to “F**ck off” because despite it all she still feels uncomfortable saying that out loud because someone thinks her halo must shine and not be tarnished by the simple act of being human. So I have just said it for her. Loudly and proudly. And I seek no forgiveness for that either.

Lets try to work harder together. Lets not presume to set the rules for those in certain vocations. Let’s not make it our duty to enforce how they behave. Lets maybe start with not ripping into another human because they can’t wear a mask. We all fail if we continue to behave as if we are the only opinion that matters without consideration of extenuating circumstance.

Lets try not to fail each other through this.

In love of course. Namaste. Amen.

And I will hang up the wings and reserve the occasional “F**ck off” for when the need arises.