Blog 1912 – 12.19.2020
The first time I read many years ago that our bodies are quite literally made of stardust I was impressed. Even more impressive is the knowledge that these bodies if ever so briefly contain a light far brighter than the brightest star. One of my favorite lines from the collection of books called the Bible is: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency might be of God.” I confess that the poetic beauty of the 1611 King James language, even though it has been revised in the many updates over the four hundred years since the first edition hit the presses, still often hides the plain meaning the writers meant to impart.
The picture eluded to in the verse, I am told, is of the clay lamps of a long bygone day, filled with oil and containing a cloth wick soaked in the oil that when lit provided light enough to see the path ahead at night. Another perhaps more familiar Bible verse says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path.” Jesus in the New Testament purportedly said to the crowds than hung on his every word, “I am the light of the world” and elsewhere, “Ye are the light of the world” and “Do no not hide your light.”
It would seem from all the verses quoted that Jesus was not the only Star Baby but that we all are, with our primary mission should we decide to accept it like Tom Cruse’s in his Mission Impossible movies being to shine.
My mama like most mamas loved her children, my brother and I, to distraction. I was her first surviving child. She gave birth to twin baby boys before me and then to my brother eighteen months after I arrived. I never gave much thought as a child to how hard it must have been for mama to lose my first two brothers just hours after they were born.
Some had a harder time than my brother and I accepting that my mother, though in excellent physical health at the time, took her own life at not quite sixty-nine. She battled depression to one degree or another all the years we knew her. Young as she was, just nineteen when I was born and even younger when the twins arrived, I think, as children do, that she might have mistakenly blamed herself for their deaths.
Mom was quite well read though she dropped out of school in the tenth grade. My family barely had enough money to cover basic doctors’ office visits for tonsillitis and occasionally stitching up the more serious cuts let alone for some therapy that might have helped mom overcome some wrong-headed ideas that tormented her. In the Bible Belt South were she grew up and raised her children most people searched the scriptures believing its words held the prescriptions to all maladies and diseases of the body, mind, and spirit. A lot of people here and around the world still do not set much store in science, or medical doctors, especially doctors of the mind, Psychiatrists, and Psychologists.
Having studied they know a lot more about the root causes of clinical depression than they once did and can help many people to get past the dramatic and traumatic events of our lives that make us often feel like prisoners, trapped, and wasting away in these stardust bodies till even death by one’s own hand might seem a welcome relief.
I do not pretend to understand what was going on in my mama’s mind all the years that I got to share with her, or anyone’s mind really, even my own at times, but I remember seeing my mama smile sometimes when she called me “Sunshine.” After my brother and I grew up and left home and especially the three years after my dad passed mama’s depression deepened and she hardly slept at all. I think she grew impatient to see loved ones that she had had to wave good-bye to in her life, perhaps especially two little star babies that she did not get to hold nearly long enough.
The Bible like all books has always contained more questions than answers for me. Yet, I still take great comfort from an Old Testament verse that an Old Testament Bible Survey professor at the Bible College I attended referred to as God’s Telephone Number, Jeremiah 33.3, “Call unto me and I will answer thee.” God, Doctor Jesus, goes by many names, my favorites being my loving and infinite source or the Universe, and yes, Peanuts’ Lucy, the doctor is always in and has reasonable rates. Forget your troubles come on get happy.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
I hope you are smiling Mom.
Sunshine On My Shoulders