My grandmother called them “nerve pills”. She would go to the doctor and get a prescription for anti-anxiety pills. I wonder what demons chased her. I wonder why she could be so violently angry and yet so generously loving.
When I was growing up, she would come spend the night and sleep with me in my bed. She would rub my back for the longest time. I guess until I fell asleep sometimes. That was good medicine for me. I need to be touched to feel loved. I need hugs and kisses and cuddles and back rubs to feel all is right with the world.
These days those kinds of things are scarce in my life. There is only him and infrequently my angel baby to provide such affection. That need in me is why in never put a certain baby down when she is with me.
I must often turn to another kind of good medicine. A muddy waterhole on the Neches River. It is actually a legitimate lake. Neglected and dismissed in the shadow of grander drama queens in the area. She is home to me as much as this house in which I live.
When the tears flow, I run to her like a mother. I walk through my abandoned parkway and the tears fall. I call out to the ones who have gone before. I call out to Him. Always, I am met with one or the other of them. This evening my grandmother, not the one above, but the other one, passed through my mind. I talked to her and felt her presence. I could see her clearly and recall images of us together.
I was overcome with despair and grief at the losses I have faced. But, then suddenly, unexpectedly, something changed. Rather than ending in resignation and toiling home to endure a season of sadness, I stopped in my tracks and turned to the water. I spoke out loud.
“I do not want to feel this way. I do not want to be sad and grieving. I do not want to feel useless and without purpose. I will not do this. I will not despair.” And I looked out over my muddy waterhole and saw the beautiful lady that she is to me. I was filled with courage, peace and strength.
Further evidence of my ever improving emotional health. See my beautiful lady. She shines gracefully and serenely. Welcoming my tears and returning them to me as calmness. She is my nerve pill. Just to have her in sight is enough to allow me to reach deeply into my soul and straighten out the tangles of darkness. I never know which of my ancestors will meet me. My Lord always meets me. And my lady, the lake herself, patiently awaits. I live here on a hill above her. I cannot see her from here, but she in only minutes away on running feet. Comfort to me for as much of my half century I can recall. Here she is in her cold winter evening shimmer, veiled with black lace. Isn’t she lovely?