musings of a lover… of … yes… that, too…

Archive for the ‘Touch’ Category

I Pray for you: the BEST way I love you

Ruth Forman: “I Wear Prayers Like Shoes…”

I post these words, ever so often, on my Facebook page:  “I love you. I REALLY do love you. VERY MUCH. And I take you with me into my prayer place to offer you before the God of grace and love. It is the BEST way I love you. I hope you receive it as the gift it is–from my great big heart. Love is my calling card, and I pray to breathe.”

Ruth Forman speaks of prayer as shoes that steady her for the day’s journey. For me, it is my very breath, the cloak of life that sustains me. Prayer is not a cop-out, an easy fix. It is an act of love so I may garner my strength and resolve to act. I wrote the poem below 10 years ago:

When I Don’t Know What to Do, I Pray for You

When I don’t know what to do, I pray for you,
A voice ascending to a distant and present throne,
The sound of a crone professing faith in you
And the divine impress imprinted on your soul

You cry into the hollow of my hands,
Confess your night terrors
And the times your mother caressed your manhood
Like a woman in need

You tell me how confusing it all was
And that the first time, you sneaked into the liquor
Searching for the elixir that would guarantee
You would forget—
You never did

And, though you loved her madly,
You could never look upon her breasts and be comforted
The way only a mother’s bosom can comfort a son
You explain to me the sacred math of reason,
How you went for seasons after women 20 years your age,
How you found yourself wanting a mother,
And yielded to this Oedipal urge that drove you
All the while you abandoned her—your own Jocasta
Who troubled you with her demons

You cry into the hollow of my hands,
Lean a heavy burden on my shoulders,
Sigh your curses into my hair
When I don’t know what to say, I hold you
Gently against my body and pray for you,
A silent petition for the healing
Of that first and fractured bond
Between a mother and her son

You tell me how confusing it all was
And how you found a toke and dipped it
In formaldehyde and stroked yourself
To sleep, crying softly and whimpering “Mama”—
How she tried to take it back the second
That she touched you, begged you
To forgive her, told you she was sorry—and drunk

You shrunk from her pleading
And told her to go to hell
Your words break and swell
In telling me as you cry your pain
Into the hollow of my hands
And I pray for you and hold you
To keep you from drowning
In your own confusion

When I don’t know what to do, I pray for you,
A voice ascending
A silent petition
A holy struggle
To deliver you from the fires
That scorch you still

(c) Valerie Bridgeman [Davis],
2002, 18 September

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Hugsy

Music Man and Professor Dr. Guthrie "Guy" Ramsey and me

My friend, Guthrie “Guy” Ramsey, calls me Hugsy. He says that every picture he sees me in, I’m hugged up with someone. And, he’s right for the most part. I love people. My family and friends mean the world to me. And hugging them is my way–skin-to-skin–of saying, I’m here for and with you. I think too much “touch” happens in harmful ways: at the end of a fist or a gun.

My beautiful granddaughter and me

I want to be a part of that group of lovers who provide healing touch. Hugs are just the start. But they are, I believe a really good start.

My beloved friends, SahLeem and Raymond and me

I don’t know how I became such a “hugger.” I don’t remember being hugged that much growing up. I felt loved–deeply, but our family wasn’t touchy-feely. But as a parent and as a friend and lover, I am so the opposite. I hugged and kissed my boys and their friends so much, I irritated them.

My beautiful artist-friend-daughter Jessica and me

My hands communicate much better than any words I say, “I love you; I care about you; I want you to be well.”

I gladly embrace Guy’s nickname for me. I am Hugsy. And I love it.

The Voice(s) Lawrence, Thomas and me.

My beautiful sisters Gwen, Pam, Deb and me

I am testifying against being touch-starved. I want those I love to know that love feels good, and warm and whole. So, I say “thank you” with a hug, and “I believe in you” with a hug, and “you’re somebody special” with a hug.

One of my besties, Rev. Catharine Cummings and me

I often say (and I really mean), Love is my calling card. Hugsy. Yeah. That’s me.

My beautiful goddaughter Christina and me

Embodied Love

I grew up in the dichotomous religious world of “flesh vs. spirit,” the lamentable heritage of Pauline duality. I know–a mouth-full to say that New Testament texts beyond the gospels and Acts are full of the “fight” between the body us and the “real us” (meaning spirit us).  I don’t know when I started resisting this theological assertion. I always experienced the world so fully with my body as a child–climbing trees, hugging, my Gran Gran “scratching my head,” running. I knew LOVE only and because I loved my flesh that weeps that feels that sings that dances. Long before I knew what to call this split, I knew that it was wrong–especially in a religion that claimed Jesus came as divinity in the flesh–to condemn the body. Plus, there was nothing quite so holy as the wind on my face as I rode on the back of the motorcycle with my friends Darlene or Terry, holding tight and becoming connected to the wind and the warm body I held. Holy. Love. All the way. In this place, as Baby Suggs Holy preaches, we ARE flesh. And that’s a GOOD thing.