By Emily Padgett
I wonder as I wander, longing for belonging
and also holding the tension and weight of shame and regret.
I wonder what it would be like to hold my experience, my emotions,
inner child, and my body with tender gentleness?
I wonder if you and I, could learn to befriend ourselves together?
I wonder, am I alone in experiencing longing for body and soul to be rooted
and grounded in being, in Presence, in the belovedness
that is extended by God, and held in the interdependence of community.
I wonder, can I, can we hold room for what one another are experiencing
and the good and hard in each others’ stories!
I wonder what it would be like to pause the all-consuming running
and simply be, embracing tenderness in stillness?
I wonder at the fragility of snowflakes and ask,
how we are tender with the fragility of our bodies?
I wonder if distance from awareness of our bodies and souls
is a form of protection from the wounds in our heart,
that can make “tuning in” feel like parachuting into a hurricane,
winds of chaos whirling, swirling, surrounding.
I wonder how to cultivate tender openness to stories that hold people
in those unique spaces of their very own experiences.
I wonder what it would be like to embrace the journey and realize
the impossibility of the longing to arrive at the tantalizing
almost within reach mirage of perfection
as I think about the advice of culture “just love yourself.”
Yet my soul opposes the idea that love and healing
is found in isolation or simply self-loving,
speaking to me instead of self-acceptance with communal love,
held solitude and mutual community, in unique rhythms that sustain
the individual’s body and spirit with the community.
My soul speaks that reconciliation with yourself, God
and others companioning me is found
in the embrace of my story and my being,
the stories providing frames of guilt, and love, and so much more.
My soul speaks that it is found in experiencing the tender holding of one another’s
being and story, in the midst of joy, struggle, hurt and hope.
I wonder, that emotional vulnerability,
that risk alongside boundary often opens the way for connection,
that rootedness in the uniqueness
of that particular friendship or community space.
I wonder as I wander what else roots and grounds you and I in our souls,
as we rest in and lean into life, togetherness, and love in body and soul today.
The featured image is a digitally edited photograph by Emily Padgett, used with permission.