Wisdom is a tricky species.

21 Nov

I once had a friend tell me that I’m the wisest person she knows. That struck me as odd. How sad, that I should be the wisest person in someone’s acquaintance. Of course, I was 18 then, and fresh out of high school which made it even more of a stretch. But even still, I wouldn’t consider myself wise. Old for my age, sure, but age has nothing to do with wisdom.

So much of this therapy is based on aligning yourself with your wise-mind. I often wonder if I even know what that means. There are days where I think I might grasp it, but other days… other days I really wish my grandmother were still around for advice. My grandmother. Now she was the wisest person I knew.

My grandmother was never formally educated and as far as book smarts, she didn’t have much opportunity to learn that stuff. But she went through enough hell in her lifetime to know things that can’t be taught. Not vertigo hell (which can be a type of hell to be sure) but Holocaust hell. And before the Holocaust, she was essentially sold into slavery by her own mother. She came through this ridiculously horrible existence with so many examples of why one has reason not to trust others in this world, and she came through it with the biggest heart I’ve ever known. I still wonder why. All the pain she went through, all off the cruelty at the hands of others… She never showed the slightest indication of hatred. I still have so much to learn.

Certain times when I’m alone and very quiet I try to think of what she would say to me now. So many things she probably knew about wading through the hard days, moment by moment, without losing your capacity for compassion. She didn’t speak all that much English, but she was fluent enough. What wisdom would she have imparted, now that I’m old enough to understand more of what it means to struggle? Would she have some story from her childhood to make this easier? Or would she tell me of a time when she once felt hopeless too? Maybe she would just give me a hug. I could definitely go for one of her hugs right now. My grandmother always gave the best hugs.

It’s always hard without her around Thanksgiving. Not only could mama cook (she also made the best giblet stuffing–only time my brother would eat irregular bird organs,) she brought the whole family together in ways that belonged in a Norman Rockwell painting. Not that we aren’t a close family anymore, but there is something so satisfying about enjoying a delicious meal made with so much heart and soul and love in front of that person. So much warmth emanated from that woman, it’s incredible.

With the vertigo the way it is some days, I wish I could still curl up in her lap. I don’t think the spinning would matter most days if I were in her arms again. It is potentially the one time I can remember feeling completely, unabashedly, unequivocally, and unconditionally safe. There is nothing that compares to that kind of love, or at least I haven’t found it yet. I miss you mama. And I always will. Kocham Cię zawsze.

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