Sunday, August 4, 2013

Oh, For a Midnight in Lourdes.

I’ve been listening to classical music all day.

You know, the romantic kind that somehow pulls at the main string to your heart as you sit daydreaming about places and people that only exist in your subconscious or literature? The kind that makes you long for that one specific kiss that is only truly satisfying when it’s written about or captured in a brilliant piece of cinema.

Sometimes I fear that the romance I create in my head is meant for a different time.

It amazes me that as romantic as the music I’ve listened to all day is, it has this extraordinary ability to make the sadness that lingers in the air, weigh heavier upon the same organ that it seems to seduce.

I’m home. Home. Where my belongings sat waiting for me as I danced across the sky toward a distant dream. Home, where the blanket I crocheted for myself is folded neatly like a reminder that this, in fact, is a place where I once felt comfortable and fulfilled.

The portion of the young mother holding her daughter from the painting The Three Ages of Women by Klimt sits on my desk. This image, that I’ve been familiar with since high school, once held a very different place in my heart. When I first saw it in my art history class, that is, when I first fell in love with Klimt, I remember thinking that the image resembled my mother holding me as a child. I clung to this image all through my final year of high school and into my first year of University as a reminder that the woman that loved me most on this earth was never far. I looked at it, often with tears in my eyes, and dreamt of the next time my mother’s protective arms would be wrapped around me.

                                                 (The edited selection above my desk)

As I grew a little more, that same image began to transform. The small child, implied a girl, began to look more and more ambiguous. And I started to see the image as a lovely depiction of the Madonna and the child Jesus. Often, when I would reflect on scripture or have long, silent conversations with God…I would stare at this image. Not necessarily looking at it as a religious icon, but as a wonderful depiction of comfort.

Now, I look at this picture, and I can’t help but stare at the elderly woman’s hand in the corner of the specific edited piece I have. Cut a part from the blushing and beautiful beginning of new life. Tossed aside, left alone. In the original image, the elderly woman is holding her head as she looks down. Hiding her once youthful face. She’s distant from the other two, with little to no intentional physical connection aside from strands of hair that happen to land on the young mother’s shoulder.

                                                  (The original painting, unedited)

A mixture of the music, a deeper look into this beloved painting…I’m a glass of wine away from weeping.

I’m home. Shouldn’t this beautiful painting I’m all too familiar with be some sort of consolation? Yes, my trip to heaven and back is slowly dissipating into the past, but my home sat in riveted anticipation for my arrival. Didn’t it? So, why the sudden dark cloud, the tears and wish for something so far away and absolutely implausible.

No, you simply cannot pick up and move to France to begin a new life of service.

But, why not?

 And, for goodness sake, why does this woman’s hand absolutely haunt the romantic music?

Perhaps, it’s because this elderly woman looks abandoned by the young and peaceful mother and child. Perhaps, it’s because I feel guilty…leaving a place where I honored the sick and elderly, to return to a country and a world that dismisses those aged with wisdom.

Do you think she cradles her head, hurting for her beautiful daughter and granddaughter…who will all too soon know the agony of being cast aside because of failing beauty and wrinkled bruises?

Home doesn’t feel as lovely, because home suddenly doesn’t have the same warmth it once possessed. There’s something frigid in the air here that was not present as I sat on the basilica steps as compline was sung. Something bites at me more than those freezing bathes that I watched people melt in.

For another year, I am forced to forget the shadow of the woman that barely survives in the corner of Klimt’s painting. I must shut her out, until I can finally embrace her in my arms once again when I finally return to the bit of heaven so many wait in anticipation of re-visiting.

My cross to bear is patience. For my heart, though home, is homesick.

Till next year, mon amie.