Loves me like a rock….

– No, this isn’t about my apparently impending divorce.

– The other day, I came a cross a news story about the influence that motherly love has on us when we are young.   The story impressed me and I felt that it helped explain some of my observations about the people around me; myself included.   My childhood was not an easy one but I think in the very early years, before it all went to custard, my mother did love me with great compassion and care and I think this is why now, even in the worst of circumstances, I find that I have a deep resilience and self-belief.  From the article:

Being lavished with affection by your mum as a young child makes you better able to cope with the stresses and strains of adult life, say researchers.

As these things tend to do, just a day or so later, another article passed me by in my reading and I saw the same issue from yet another perspective.  In this case, the article was saying that our social ties as adults can boost our survival by as much as 50%.

The benefit of friends, family and even colleagues turns out to be just as good for long-term survival as giving up a 15-cigarette-a-day smoking habit. And by the study’s numbers, interpersonal social networks are more crucial to physical health than exercising or beating obesity.

– We are truly social animals as anyone who has tried to lead a solitary life has found out.   We need to be “observed” as Irvin Yalom says in his book, When Nietzsche Wept.

Throughout this procedure, Nietzsche remained deeply attentive: indeed, he nodded appreciatively at each of Breuer’s questions.  No surprise, of course, to Breuer.   He had never encountered a patient who did not secretly enjoy a microscopic examination of his life.  And the greater the power of magnification, the more the patient enjoyed it.  The joy of being observed ran so deep that Breuer believed the real pain of old age, bereavement, outliving one’s friends, was the absence of scrutiny – the horror of living an unobserved life.

The day after the second of these two articles, I was riding the bus to work and looking at all the people I didn’t know walking the street and musing about it all when Paul Simon’s song, “Loves Me Like a Rock” came on the bus’s audio system.

Oh , my mama loves, she loves me
She get down on her knees and hug me
Like she loves me like a rock
She rocks me like the rock of ages
And loves me
She love me, love me, love me, love me

– It bought tears to my eyes as the several pieces came together for me.  The articles, memories of my mother, my need and love for those with whom I am close to, for my sons and my two wives and all the people who have ever touched the quick of my life.

– I don’t often talk about my spiritual and mystical inclinations here, but they are strong.   When I’ve not forgotten myself, they inform my life with the knowledge that all is love, if we are but open to see it.

– Beyond all the war and death and strife and unhappiness lies something I once wrote about in a poem that I’ll close with:

Paused for a moment on the edge of all the future
all our lives will surely tangle or unweave now
and all of these potentials,
like hands on my shoulder, steady me.
So let it begin and all the rest of my life go on
I no longer wait or care for the past to resurrect itself
this life can be invested in my future now
I can weave and sort my friends and lovers into the days of my life
I want to walk out each day excited
about what could happen again
and care nothing for what has gone by
I’ve been too long tangled with the old ways
so carefully unknotting our lives and feelings
learning that exquisite patience that lies half way
between compassion and self preservation
But, its done… let me depart and begin anew
this time not to bury my freedom with love and security
or to hold myself untouched by love’s whip and passion
I want to find that balance point there in my heart, between…
there, where on the edge of my best,
I can live each day like it was the last
I want to dance to life’s mysteries and paradoxes
as the fountains dance to the wind and the mimes to the crowd
these things are not to weep for
and, sometimes … in those graceful but oh so brief moments,
perhaps in a lover’s eyes or in a passage of my son’s growth
I’ll see something behind it all …
timeless … smiling thru at me
Brother Methuselah, here in all of us as we gamble our lives
untouched yet compassionate … he waits for us to begin
and he smiles at us, a spiritual joy and promise within.

– gallagher – July 4th, 1978.

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7 Responses to “Loves me like a rock….”

  1. Tony Barrett says:

    Thanks for this Dennis. I am reading “Absence of Mind” by Marilynne Robinson. A very thoughtful criticism of how science and faith fail to think deeply about the other points of view. Dennis, you are an exception to that criticism. Best wishes friend.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jul/03/absence-mind-marilynne-robinson-review

  2. Mary Furnari says:

    Dennis… this post touched me deeply. Having been through a long dark winter of feeling the isolation of moving to a new town, no job, no colleagues to meet with daily, very few acquaintances as I forge a new life in a new place once again.. your words resonate with me. I agree completely with that need for the love of family, friends and colleagues to nourish our lives. So glad you are in ours… Mary

  3. Tobi says:

    Dennis this is lovely, so glad you are here in our family. We love you.
    Alfablotto!!

  4. katy says:

    Thanks for this piece, Dennis. I appreciate how you tied these three experiences together, and it is interesting how your brain did the same and resulted in the emotional experience on the bus. As you know, I have felt the same way moving to another place across the world and it is only through good friendships that I return here again from a summer in the US feeling happy to be here. It takes a few years to settle in because it takes a few years for authentic friendships to develop.

    I also often reflect on the relationship with my three children, and the reasons stated in the article form the bedrock in my decision to work part-time or not at all when August, Tess, and Stellan were small. I wanted to be available to them first. I wanted to set a foundation for them. Sure enough, even August — now nearly 13! He grew 3 inches last year alone! — will sit on my lap, call me ‘mommy,’ and we have long wandering conversations about all nature of subjects both academic and personal. He has been reading a book a day (250 pg +) and I caught myself saying yesterday, “August, I hope you’re not reading ta recess and you do dumb 13 year-old things then!” Why? Because I want him to have real friends, not merely know characters in books ….

  5. bruce says:

    Hey there Dennis, I don’t see an email option?

  6. Dennis says:

    Bruce, it is on the opening page of the Blog on the right side in the Permanent pages section and it says, “Subscribe for E-Mail”. Thanks for your interest,my friend.

  7. Robin Scott says:

    Hi Dennis – many thanks for this excellent article and poem, my friend.
    I am one of those lucky people who enjoyed a warm loving relationship with both my parents, but especially with my mother in my infancy. The rest of my life has been a positive experience, as a result, and hopefully we have forged the same bonds with our own children in turn.
    Big fan of Paul Simon, by the way!
    Love from us all, Robin & Adrienne