Ten words on the election:
It’s time to pull together for the good of all.
Prologue to Today’s Posting
This past Monday I read a posting that ended with “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. I first heard that song when k.d. lang sang it at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. It led to my writing an introduction for a memoir that I hoped would be published the traditional way.
After reading that intro, a friend suggested I write differently. “You’re a storyteller,” she said. “Tell stories in your memoir.” Then another friend suggested a blog and the two ideas coalesced: an on-line memoir.
Thus, this blog, begun in May 2011, has featured stories rather than musings. So many blogs I read are replete with wisdom. I’m still looking for wisdom to tap me on the shoulder and announce its presence. In the meantime, I tell stories.
Yesterday I found that 2010 introduction. I want to share it with you today as proof that I need to stick with stories!
That Old Introduction
I am a “broken Hallelujah.” Within the deep center of myself memory and Presence meet and merge. They proclaim, “I am broken, but I have survived.” What I have survived is my own desperate need to be enough for someone. To be enough that someone would love me despite my brokenness. Only in the last few years have I recognized that what I really want is to be enough for myself.
The first five years of my life were idyllic. My parents loved me—dearly and deeply. Yet in 1941, when I was five, they left me with friends and took my baby brother with them to Parsons, Kansas. This seeming desertion left me fearful. That fear tripled when my dad began to drink heavily and a neighbor molested me for three months.
Then came the loss of identity in a Benedictine convent in Kansas followed by twelve years of depression and the hallucination of three different aspects of myself. I kept these hallucinations hidden for twelve years during which I became both actively and passively suicidal.
I have known my own failure of integrity, fallen into the frigid pit of despair, lost faith, endured Meniere’s.
We all have a long litany of the days of our life. This was mine.
Through it all, I, like you, survived.
In later years, Dr. Nimlos, an astute psychiatrist in St. Paul, Minnesota, told me that I had the most highly developed sense of survival she’d ever met. It’s like the word survival is branded on my soul. It’s the incised touchstone for each experience.
I’m only guessing that, however, because in truth much of my life still eludes me. Who is that giggly child called “Dodo”?
Who is that shy and subdued grade-schooler known as “Dolores?
Who is that bemused college student hailed as “Dee Ready”?
Who is that confused nun named “Sister Innocence”?
Who are they?
Who is she?
I’m hoping that writing this memoir will help me understand her.
Depression, despair, apathy, deep-down-bone weariness are puzzle pieces. I’ve spent my life sorting them. Looking for like colors. Shapes. Images. This memoir, I hope, will finally reveal to me the picture that is my life. The pieces will sort themselves into the who of Dee Ready. I tell you now that she has come to believe in her own resilience. That was a gift of Meniere’s.
Had I known before my seventieth year that Meniere's awaited me in its acute, progressive, intractable form, I do not know that I would have chosen to remain alive. Yet because of Meniere’s I now know that what I have searched for all my life is my authentic and true self. This broken Hallelujah seeks wholeness. As I begin this memoir, I wonder if the hardest, the deepest, the dearest wholeness is that which bears the jagged scars of struggle.
All my life I’ve longed to be loved. To be enough for others. I now recognize, with gratitude, that the friends who have stood by me throughout these many years have loved me in my brokenness, almost despite myself. Now I begin to love Dee. Now I am enough for myself. Or perhaps I am just closer to being that enough. For does the journey of a broken Hallelujah ever end?
· If you’d like to see the first story I related on this on-line memoir, click here.
· If you’d like to know how I go about writing the on-line memoir stories, please look at the most recent posting on my second blog—the one about writing.