I walked along the river’s edge this morning with the hot sun
penetrating through the clouds. I walked and I cried.
Tears making their way to the surface. Like fish coming up for air.
Allowing me to breath in all that I felt. To let go of all that I do not understand.
I stood at the river’s edge and I felt a strength come over me.
A warrior’s heart rose from within.
Had I been energetically fishing in dark waters…
Waters so deep that I would never catch a fish?
I waded out unto the river and stood as the water flowed past me.
What am I needing to release?
All the hurt. All the heartache. All the harsh bitter words.
Words that may never be understood. Words that had been spoken time and again.
I am not the one to penetrate the darkness of another’s soul…or am I?
Of another’s guarded heart that my love may never be able to reach.
I could do one of two things…
I could keep going or I could stop.
When it all comes down to life and making decisions,
we always have a choice.
We can continue as we are.
Or we can create a new path.
Was I choosing to stay the same and hope that the surroundings would change?
That what I felt would somehow matter or be understood?
As I continued my morning walk along the river’s edge.
I heard a man yelling mean words to one of his daughter’s as he was trying to teach them how to play tennis.
The fact that he was out there with his girls is admirable. But when I saw the oldest girl shrink when she was not told she was not moving fast enough, I could not the bear the distain and anger in her father’s words. She was humiliated.
“Hey! You talk nice to your girls!”
He made a smart ass response…
I stood and looked right through it.
“Do you want to raise them?” he sneered.
I wanted to scream and snatch them up and take them away from this mean dad.
I wanted to yell, “Hell YES!” and tell him where to go!
Instead I responded with a charged reply, “Be the adult!”
As I walked away from the tennis courts.
I walked away with every hurt that I had held unto as a little girl. As a young woman. As a grown lady.
Weeping for the shame that father’s bring to their daughter’s spirits. The wounds of feeling not good enough. The lack of confidence in doing something for fear of being yelled at once more.
I walked away.
What could I say?
I saw myself turning around and marching up to the tennis court fence and peering through with my judgments and love for fragile little girls. Girls that grow up trying to please men. Always in fear of being made a fool. I wanted to say, “Yes! I will take these girls and raise them with all the love that I have to give.”
I have always wanted a daughter and two would be even better. I wanted to take the damn tennis racquet and knock it over his head. “Are you so stupid that you have to be mean? So cruel. That your youngest daughter is doing everything in her power to swing the tennis racquet in hopes of lobbing it over the net.”
The oldest girl with her head down picked up the tennis balls one at a time. I watch as she cautiously brings her arm load of balls to the net and hands over her power one ball at a time to a man that she will never please. Hopefully, to one day recognize the beauty of her thoughtful nature that would rather be gathering stones and picking wild flowers along the river’s edge than playing in a game that she will never win.
I ached. I wept. For all the words that had been tossed carelessly across the net. One lob then another. More balls and anger to pick up and hand back. Only to pick them up one at a time and continue to be beaten down. Even though she was wearing a bright turquoise sundress she didn’t feel so fun anymore.
When would the little girls ever feel like they fit in? Would they ever be loved for who they were inside? Had I caught their dad on a bad day? It didn’t feel like I did. Because they reminded me of a wounded puppy who when it has done something wrong, tucks its ears and tail down after being reproached.
Why did I feel that it was my place to stop and watch this abusive play of words? To stand there and stare. Then to yell. I prayed that he wouldn’t take anymore out on them for me saying something. Only I knew that I had just added to the force of negative energy. Or had I?
Further along the river’s edge, I threw sticks in the water for my golden retriever to fetch. Swimming with such eagerness. I felt love as she dropped the stick at my feet and shook water all over me. I threw with such gusto as I watched her dance around me in joy. I want to be this free. To be kind. To love.
I am no longer bound by another’s anger. I am not responsible for how they take what I say and attempt to share. I am only accountable to my reaction. My actions. I am.
©2014 Te’ Werner
Excerpted from the upcoming book “High Five to Triumph!”
Photo © 2014 Alan Kowalski: “Te’ hiking in Indian Canyon” Palm Desert, CA