Upon returning from another emotionally unruly trip to Michigan to visit family, the thought occurred to me that if ‘the heart often has the greater wisdom’, I’m screwed. If you are a reader of this blog, you may recall that I have an aging mother and disabled brother for whom I provide care and support in a variety of ways. My travels back to my hometown consistently offer an array of ups and downs and this trip was no exception. I got to connect with some old friends and walk the path along the creek where I spent many days of my youth playing. I was reassured that the world had not tilted on its axis when I visited Elliot’s Bakery and saw the same old guys jawing over coffee and was waited on by she who does not smile. As usual, my attempts to thread the needle of concern and support with my mom and her long time companion ,as they seek to retain their dignity in the face of increasing frailty, met with uneven results. And my heart was pummeled when I asked my brother, confined to a bed in a nursing home, “Can I do anything else before I leave?”, to which he answered, “Don’t go.”
The question that arose for me on my six hour drive back to my little bubble in Wisconsin was, and always is, “Am I doing enough?”. As I think about what else I could/should do to care for those I love, I struggle to come up with much that is concrete and doable. But if love makes us who we are and who we can become, surely there is something more I can provide. We tell ourselves stories all of the time about what is possible so I don’t think the answer lies in my mind, but rather in my heart. How does one know?
So this whole heart-sourced wisdom thing is where I am struggling. Is it a feeling or some sort of ‘inner knowing’? I am drawing a blank and don’t know where to go for the answer.
But maybe I am looking at this wrong. Would it be more useful to ask instead if am I bringing the humanity that renders the journey meaningful to others AND to myself? Would it be helpful for me to suspend judgment around what is right or best and hold on more lightly to plans for the future?
Perhaps the only question I should ask is “In THIS moment, what is my capacity to love?” If I follow that call, will my heart be refilled enough for me to hear its song that lets me know that I did indeed do what was needed?