I awoke this morning to the call to action sounded by the Salvation Army Hooter – hooting a bit too assertively, just quietly. I was briefly confused with some suspicious PTSD symptoms and thoughts of BUshfire! Not again! GEt the photos! Insurance papers and passports! Today is a rest, a brief respite from the bills and burden of busyness. I have been remembering my Grandmother, great mystic that she was. We all have one, Grandmothers I mean and may, if we were lucky, have known two. All of us.
Sometimes she beckons to me from behind the curtain that separates this world from the next. I am remembering the Easter weekend I visited her more than half a life away when I was 16 and I was waiting for everything to begin. I decided to ring the Food Court, declare my status as sick, purchase a seat on the Greyhound Coach for the then princely sum of $30 something. I think the Eurythmics kept me company and also kept time until my walkman chewed the tape. I was practicing independence and going to Toowoomba where she lived. I have since discovered that everyone in Australia has at least one resident in Toowoomba they can claim as kith or kin. The place is like the tardis.
I went to visit her because I felt “called”. If you had ever been “called” you would know it. Feels like a buzzing in your ear, a pulling or a pushing and does not cease until you comply. I arrived at her house, it was a home – a place of safety and refuge. There was peace there and I could rest. So I did. I slept for hours and hours. She never asked me why, never said anything at all about my inability to stay awake. She fed me when I opened my eyes and was able to keep them open. She grew vegetables, flowers and had a passionfruit vine heavy with fruit. Thrilling! She took me out to it and suggested I eat some. Anything planted in the hot red volcanic earth under the feet of those who live in Toowoomba, grows and grows. I ate those passionfruit and kept on eating them. Could not stop, so sweet they were. They were not those sour scrawny kind you get sometimes that seem dehydrated and in need of defibrillation. They were fat and plump, so they were. Toowoomba soil I guess.
We did not speak of much that I recall. Nothing significant anyway. I would have to leave her place and return. Toowoomba is a kind of in-between place. I was already beginning to show early signs of having a serious, debilitating mystery illness. My Grandmother had faced her share of indomitable adversaries – enough to know when she was in the company of someone so engaged. Her Great Grandmother had fled the poverty of the Potato Famines and the tyranny of the British torching their houses and starving them and come to Australia hoping and praying for something more than this. They call what the British did in Ireland genocide today but most of this history is now forgot by us who came later. The way she told me of this was “don’t go near that Big Smoke” and maybe “can’t trust anyone from Sydney”. The last thing she said to me before she passed over was “When do you think you will come back?”
Sometimes we are up against an unseen adversary. I was that Easter. I did not speak of it because there were no words to describe what was happening. Things were not as they should be. I did know this much but not more. Nothing to say about it. My Grandmother just sat with me – she was just ‘there’, with me, that was all but that was a lot. I miss her. She never said anything but the way she said nothing made me feel understood, seen, heard and the value of this – to be known by just one other – cannot be measured. It is priceless.
Good Friday and Easter is a rest for some and a spiritual time of reflection for others. Either way it is a brief respite from life, a short trip to the other world, a brush with death and transformation. Change is inevitable and something we can depend on but change is also a little or sometimes big death. Change is not something our personalities or egos embrace willingly. Usually we need a big unavoidable crisis, like an illness, relationship breakdown or accident, before we will embrace change and only then because we are being essentially forced by pesky life to do – Change.
Change is coming. It is the fine print – it is inevitable. Something is always arriving and something else is passing away – the trick is knowing what or who is arriving and alternatively – leaving. Greet, embrace, welcome one and acknowledge, release and bid good-bye to the other. Figuring out – what, who and when is the bit that causes angst and confusion, but Change itself – is guaranteed, your reaction – is not.