“Somebody Prayed for Me”
At their awesome concert this weekend, Sweet Honey in the Rock reminded me.
They reminded me of something so helpful, so right.
They reminded me of my parents.
No, my parents are not an all-woman, African American a cappella ensemble, with a forty-five-year history of performing history.
Sweet Honey reminded me of my parents’ love.
Sweet Honey reminded me of my parents’ caring.
I come from two ordinary yet remarkable people.
Their lives and the family they together built weren’t perfect; of course, there was dysfunction. Of course.
They passed on what they received; silence, assumption, and unresolved pain.
Of course, they did.
And they passed on love. Yes, it was, smothering love; it was merged-and-morphed-into-one-unit-of Jewish-family-blob-of- love, but love, nevertheless.
My dad used to say, “When you’re happy, I’m happy. When you’re sad, I’m sad.”
That was a pretty big burden to carry.
Yet he was the guy, upon whose lap I sat, as a pretty traumatized and frightened little girl, who said to me (a direct Sidney-quote), “Honey, you can do anything you decide to do. You can.”
He was right. Sixty-five years later, this morning, right here and now, his message is beyond-relevant.
Sixty-five years after being spoken, his words are a blessing, guiding me forward.
Almost twenty-years after his dying, my dad continues to breathe life into me.
It’s all true; dysfunction walks hand-in-hand with blessings, benign neglect travels together, woven into lovingkindness.
My mom was silent. Her job was—well, everything. She ran the Entire Futuronsky Show, indeed, working in my dad’s neighborhood grocery store next to him, six days a week to his seven, feeding us, managing the house, and most significantly, taking care of him, her primary focus for living.
My mom was eighty years old when my dad died. We had no idea who she was, who she might be, if she would jump into the grave after him.
Her whole life literally had been in service to him.
She came alive.
For the five remaining years of her life, she chose to create her life anew.
She created herself anew.
She manifested a dear little apartment in a new state, started an arts and crafts club in her senior citizen home, organized the regular knitting of hats for the Ronald McDonald House, went on every trip, every foray offered, was present in our lives with a silent depth, with a deep resiliency, in a new and different way.
She became a voracious reader, swallowing books whole.
“Daddy didn’t like it when I read,” she confessed to me that first year post-dad.
She came forth.
She chose to rebuild her life.
She continues to breathe life into me, fourteen years after her dying.
As my life events these past months conspire to blow my heart into smithereens, banishing me from familiar architecture, FOR MY GROWTH, FOR MY EVOLUTION, FOR THE HEALING OF MY BODY, MIND, AND SPIRIT, for upgrade of my usefulness on the planet (I fully believe all of this), I must say:
I feel my parents’ strongest qualities buoying me up and guiding me forward.
I am my father’s soft, kind connectedness.
He gave me that capacity.
I am my mother’s steely, grounded resiliency.
She gave me that capacity.
They live inside of me.
Their prayers live inside of me.
This is the magical song Sweet Honey sang that opened me to this gift of this claiming, this remembrance.
Check it out, perhaps with a tissue nearby:
My folks weren’t the type “to pray.” They were too busy, too stressed, too focused on keeping it together. They went to temple on the big holidays, they did their best to be good people, good parents, good Jews.
Most importantly, they loved.
They loved me and my sister, wildly, fully, unconditionally, as best they could.
And their love became their prayers.
And their actions became their blessings.
And their legacy became their best qualities,
His gentle tenderness
Her strong deep resilience.
And I got them.
I got them
Inside of me.
I am them.
And that will get me through.
Somebody did pray for us.
Dear Folks, who thought about you?
Who prayed for you? Who cared for you enough to get you through?
Did this song touch you? What message can you take from it?
I believe my life instructs me and informs me. The people, places and things I encounter are the path of my healing. I’m looking around, calling in the blessings, to get me through.
They are right here, breath after breath.
Please let me know—how are you? How did this week’s post land? I am firstname.lastname@example.org.
In all forms,