I wrote in my last post about the book I found and am reading, Walking With Loneliness by Paula Ripple (1995) Ava Maria Press. Ripple wrote one chapter about the passing of her mother and about how her eight children agreed on how their mother loved them in a way that gave them each the greatest freedom to claim and to live their own lives — their way.
Ripple uses the expression “know your own name and name your own days.” By “knowing your own name” in reference to how her mother did this Ripple was honoring the fact that it was only because her mother was able to increasingly know her own self that she was then able to allow her children to each know their own self, as well. By choosing to “name your own days” Ripple described how setting the course for one’s life each day by naming it means that life does not pass by unnoticed, unheeded, or unattended to — from the inside out.
Most people who find their way to this blog had their lives interfered with if not “claimed” in abusive, invasive and harm-filled ways by the very adults in their childhood who were supposed to set the example about how to live one’s life to the fullest — but did the opposite. Ripple’s mother was clearly a healthy person. My mother was the opposite. Yet I have lived my own life in spite of her, although I never feel I have lived my life to the fullest.
As I concluded the reading of Ripple’s chapter about her mother I found myself thinking about how naming one’s own name and naming one’s own days leaves no room for trying to control any other person. This kind of naming seems perhaps like drawing a picture of one’s self with a pencil that defines boundaries, that defines our self within OUR life — the life lived in our days.
I am thinking I have very high standards for myself that I never let myself meet. Is this a destructive or constructive pattern for myself? Do I look over my own “fence” into some other field where I do not belong? My days are my days. My space is my space within which I live my days — within my own boundaries, inside and out.
Have I hung up my own sign in my life saying, “Linda lives here and she is doing a fantastic job?” Is naming — a kind of claiming? I claim this day. I name this day. It did not pass by me unnoticed no matter how humble my day might seem — IF I compare it to — whose?
All the way from my early teens through my 40s at times I heard a voice calling my name as if from a great distance. I can hear that calling inside my mind now any time I think of this. It remains a mystery to me, this name calling. The voice was female and it was beautiful, but it also seemed filled with longing. For me? Was I calling myself? Was an angel calling me? Did the voice cease its musical calling because I finally found myself?
I cannot imagine naming my days by anything other than something I value. Something I value is something I love. I am a person who has struggled a lifetime with not being able to say with truth, “I love life.” I watch so many I know who claim no belief in any kind of life after the death of their physical body. I cannot imagine for myself having that kind of dead-end take on life. And yet sometimes I suspect it is because I believe the life of eternity after this physical life is so much better than this one that I lack the appreciation I WISH I had for being here now.
I work on this in some way every day of my life. Naming myself in my life — naming the days of my life — before I pass through the veil at the end of this life into the next world — I often think it is exactly because of the great loneliness I so often feel that I think the next world will befriend me because I have so much trouble befriending myself and my life in this world.
Ripple’s point about her mother was that because her mother gave herself her own name and named her own days of her own life she was thus able to give so much to other people. This is one of the greatest losses I suffer from the 18 years of severe abuse by my mother in my childhood: I have the greatest difficulty giving myself permission to be giving to ME.
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