Stored in the Heart

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

Whatever he needs, he has or doesn’t
have by now.
Whatever the world is going to do to him
it has started to do… 

…Whatever is
stored in his heart, he can use, now.
Whatever he has laid up in his mind
he can call on.  What he does not have
he can lack…

…Whatever his exuberant soul
can do for him, it is doing right now…

…Everything that’s been placed in him will come out, now, the contents of a trunk
unpacked and lined up on a bunk in the underpine light.
~Sharon Olds from “The Summer-Camp Bus Pulls Away from the Curb”

This is the season for graduations, when children move into the adult world and don’t look back.

As a parent, as an educator, as a mentor, as a college health physician witnessing this transition, I can’t help but be wistful about what I left undone and unsaid.   In their moments of vulnerability, did I pack enough love into that bleeding heart so he or she can pull it out when it is most needed?

With our three children traveling all over the world over the last few weeks, stretching way beyond the fenced perimeter of our little farm, I have trusted they prepared themselves well.

I know what is stored in their hearts because I helped them pack.   It is where they can still find me if need be.

2 thoughts on “Stored in the Heart

  1. “I know what is stored in their hearts because I helped them pack. It is where they can still find me if need be.”
    So touching and true! And relieving. Because I did help my son pack well–and that’s showing up now at 38 as he faces difficult times–his partner was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. He has some emotional tools that we helped him pack….

    Like

  2. Sometimes they do not even realize that the pack (or backpack) is there — until there is a crisis, a crucial decision to be made. It is then that they are able to draw upon it. The pack may have many names: values, morality, judgement, wisdom, common sense, They can draw from the pack at any age, for their entire lives, passing it on to the next generation….

    Like

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