Bows and Arrows
Last night I dreamt of my first love, Todd. Yes, at the tender age of five I was all butterflies and silliness. In my dream we were grown up and although I recognized him immediately he stared at me quite some time before realizing who I was. He then asked me one simple question, “Have you been successful in life?” His family had owned a boys camp, acres upon acres of testosterone including an in ground trampoline. I would spend afternoons there bouncing up and down in delight or watching him anxiously awaiting my turn. Lunch was served, by his ever stern mother, whose militant grace kept everyone in line. He was one of three boys.
After his parents died, he developed the land. He is worth buckets of money, I have no doubt, as land on Cape Cod is limited and these were a premium location. I thought in my dream all these things, yet he did not offer me his measure of success. I do not know what he thinks, but I do know this. My success belongs to the realm of “life’s longing for itself”, my children. I too raised three boys into creative, well adjusted men. I do not take credit for their being, but I know that some of what I offered, a warm hug, a firm voice and a page from Todd’s mother’s handbook, a trampoline, helped my children to grow and define themselves into young adulthood.
Kahlil Gibran wrote: “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” So I ask myself whether I have given life something worthy of its gift to me. Surely my bow has trembled in the wake of life’s intensity, yet the arrows have flown true. My love for my children has been my offering to life, but all success goes to the Archer.